Oklahoma's CUs Roll Out Campaign Around 'Financial Firsts' Theme

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The Oklahoma Credit Union League is making an investment in a new advertising campaign that seeks, in part, to attract younger members.

The league hadn't spent much money on advertising in 2004, relying on CUNA's "Make the Switch" campaign for what promotion it did do. As a result, the League had a stockpile for 2005. League AVP of Communication Lara Denning said the Oklahoma Credit Union Advocacy Task Force has budgeted $240,000, with one third being spent on the creative and the remainder on the ad buy.

Denning, who served as a judge for the CUNA Marketing Council's Diamond Awards, liked what she saw in the television entry by Tinker Credit Union, Oklahoma's only billion-dollar CU. Denning contacted the designers, Third Degree Advertising, seeking a campaign that would not just draw people to Oklahoma credit unions, but target a younger demographic, as well.

"We were familiar with what they had done. We wanted something new," she said. "They're cutting edge. I haven't seen anything better come out of New York City."

The league opted to run advertising in markets in which were located credit unions that had made donations to the campaign. Third Degree Advertising developed a theme focusing on "Financial Firsts" and "Happily Ever After." Financial Firsts lists a series of "firsts" in anyone's life: first car, first love, first job or first paycheck; "Happily Ever After" lists first home and first home payment. The ads ask the question "Who Cares About Your Financial Firsts?," and then lists the website, CreditUnionsCare.com.

"Everything drives them to a website," she said.

The television ads feature music from an Oklahoma City blues band with the text scrolling across the screen. The commercials have no voiceover, just the sound of guitars and a bluesy harmonica playing. Denning said the music "grabs your attention" and created an intriguing ad that will hopefully reach younger residents.

The entire campaign features:

* Print ads in newspapers-one Oklahoma City and Miami (Oklahoma), which is in the extreme northeast corner of the state. Miami was covered with print ads versus television ads, since televised ads would have spilled over into neighboring Missouri, wasting advertising dollars.

* The TV spots aired more than 1,000 times on broadcast and cable television in four cities.

* Billboards-two separate messages were run on billboards with three in Oklahoma City, two in Tulsa and one in Miami.

Denning said an added bonus of the new campaign is that as members grow older they'll have more "firsts" in their lives: first marriages, children and then education funds. Plus, the League can start radio ads using the same theme whenever it chooses. "Each year we can add more to it," she said.

Denning said the Oklahoma CU League plans to eventually syndicate the television commercial campaign with member credit unions, thus creating a revenue stream for the league. As the CU website address is listed at the end of the commercial it can be tailored to whichever credit union licenses the campaign. "It's something that's easily brandable," she said.

To hear the music and see the ad style for the campaign, visit the website at www.creditunionscare.com.

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