Radio Ads Debut In 28 Markets In Califorinia, Nevada

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The California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues have begun airing radio spots for their $6-million public advocacy campaign.

Henry Kertman, director of public relations for the California CU League, said the campaign launched in 28 markets-both large and small-in California and Nevada.

"[Jan. 19 was] the kickoff day, though some radio stations began airing the ads a couple of days early," he said. "This is the largest push, as we are trying to build momentum early. There will be three weeks of heavy airplay, followed by running the ads about every other week for the remainder of the year."

The campaign launched with three 60-second spots, with more expected throughout the year. Kertman said all three are the result of a small group of credit union CEOs and marketing people, working in conjunction with the advertising agency Foote, Cone and Belding, and research firm Strata Research.

The ad concepts were tested by focus groups in several states, he continued. The spots were recorded in Los Angeles in the second week of January.

The spots are known as: "Voices," "Doors" and "Save Nothing."

* In "Voices," 11 different people make statements about credit unions, ending with the tagline: "Credit unions. They're how communities share the wealth."

* "Doors" discusses how CUs provide choices for consumers. Its tagline: "Credit unions. Because choice is power."

* "Save Nothing" also speaks to the benefits of competition in the financial services industry. It concludes with: "Because when banks and credit unions compete, everyone wins."

"The common theme of all three is, credit unions benefit everyone in the community, whether or not you are a member," said Kertman.

About 10% of the ads in markets where there is a large Spanish-speaking population will be in Spanish.

Kertman said "very soon" the California league will resume its consumer research to determine the effectiveness of the ads in educating the public. "We also use opinion leader research, which polls elected state and federal officials to see if they are getting input from a better-educated consumer base."

Because some stations began airing the spots early, feedback has already begun. Kertman said CUs have been calling the league office with positive comments.

Print ads had been expected to follow the radio spots on or shortly after Jan. 24, but they are not expected to be completed until the end of February.

Funding for the campaign was approved Nov. 17, 2004, by members of both state leagues at the annual convention in Las Vegas.

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