Oregon Rolling Out Statewide Ad Effort

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The Credit Union Association of Oregon wants you to meet Bob, the new spokesman for Oregon credit unions. He's part of a two-year multi-media awareness campaign aimed at the general public.

Oregon's public awareness campaign comes at the same time residents in another West Coast state, California, are about to be targeted by a similar effort from that state's credit unions (CU Journal, Nov. 22).

In Oregon, the first phase is a $300,000 effort launched in mid-November with 30-second television spots filmed in popular locations throughout the state, including the Portland International Raceway, a gym and a grocery store.

In the coming weeks, 15-second radio spots will feature this average guy, Bob, hanging out at the gym and looking for bargains at yard sales will be added to the mix. His message: Credit unions are focused on people rather than profits.

"The campaign is scheduled to run for two years," said Amy K. Drew, director of communications for the CUAO. "We raised $300,000 for this year and we will do more fundraising for the second year. We hope to get at least the same amount."

Drew said the Oregon campaign was not triggered by any specific event or trend. "It was just something we felt we should be doing right now," she said. "The last time we did something like this was several years ago."

The CUAO marketing team enlisted the help of an outside marketing agency, The Summit Group Communications, Salt Lake City, Utah, to create the campaign.

"We were involved in everything for every step of the way," Drew said. "We let them know our key messages and they came back with several ideas."

The campaign, themed "Bottom Line: You," includes marketing packets for credit unions with wall posters, flyers and copies of television commercials to run in CU lobbies, along with window stickers touting the CU difference and directing interested parties to a special website, www.bottomlineyou.org. The site provides more detail and provides a link to a credit union match up database.

Among the messages: "From day one, our bottom line has always been you. It's just how we were built." "Credit Unions are owned by their members. It's just part of our structure." "Chances are, you've probably noticed it: Credit unions are just different." "At Oregon's credit unions, our bottom line really is you."

"With this campaign, we hope to help people understand that not-for-profit credit unions exist to serve their members, and members own their credit union," said CUAO President Gene Poitras.

Drew said the first phase of the campaign includes five television spots and four radio spots.

"We wanted it to be very Oregon specific so we chose locations throughout the state that are very familiar to the residents here," she said. Among them, the Portland International Raceway and Peninsula Park and Rose Garden, Portland. Bob, the spokesman, will also be seen and heard in more casual atmospheres, such as as bowling alleys, a gym and taking a walk down a street.

Drew said the CUAO is aware of the $6 million public advocacy effort planned in California, but also noted the Golden State has substantially more credit unions (more than 500) than does Oregon (71).

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