Why Denver CCU Is Piloting Would-Be TV Ad On YouTube First

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DENVER-Necessity is the mother of invention, and for Denver Community CU here, it has helped to mother a new way of producing and distributing commercials.

The $218-million DCCU has taken to the web with a series of new, punchy spots geared towards showing the stark difference between banks and CUs.

"We didn't have as much of a television budget this year so we had to get creative. These ads cost less than $2,000 to produce from start to finish, which is significantly different from what one television series would cost," explained Marketing Manager Brad Blue. "Thus far we have not run it on TV; we wanted to see what kind of response we got from the web."

The spots were produced so that they can appear online, on TV or even over the radio without many changes. Denver Community has been piloting the spots via its YouTube page. Multiple page conversations have cropped up as DCCU has engaged in back-and-forths with viewers who are curious about the message. One such spot, on e-statements, garnered a number of curious responses wondering what the credit union meant when it told viewers "Don't let banks profit off of you, let you profit from you."

"If you see it on TV, you only get to see it that one time so if you don't get the message you're confused about why we'd say something seemingly negative about ourselves," said Blue. "It's a pretty complex message that we've tried to simplify as much as we can. [The Internet] really gives us a chance to interact with the people who are watching the ad."

Blue has e-mailed individual viewers to probe whether they would change the commercials' format, which he said was probably too "punchy" for an older audience but would work perfectly on cable channels such as MTV.

But the script and visual style has attracted the attention of more than just members and potential members. Six other CUs have called Denver Community in the last several weeks asking for help in customizing similar spots for them.

Though the low cost is attractive, targeting the spots to a wider but local audience can be tough over the Internet.

"When we run them on social media we don't know where those clicks are coming from. We've covered the low-hanging fruit like Twitter and local bloggers but we'd really like to get these in front of local viewers," said Blue, who is mulling the idea of embedding the videos on local news outlets.

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