What You Learn When You Dress Like Your CU’s Mascot

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This is a true story. I preface it only because if I didn’t have pictures or witnesses I’m certain someone would accuse me of making it up.

It was a fiercely hot summer day in July in Richmond, Va. My credit union was sponsoring the Stone Soul Music Festival, and had brought along our mascot, iDude.

Now, if you’ve ever been encased in layers of foam with nothing but millimeter holes for breathing and sight, you’d probably completely understand what I’m about to tell you. Being a mascot is fiercely hot, and for some reason people love to embarrass and abuse our furry friends.

During the concert, people stopped and either gave me high fives or called me names. I even got punched at one point.

And then, somehow, I was coaxed on stage, and found myself at a rap concert in front of 6,000 people, dressed as a giant letter “i” and dancing to “Drop It Like It’s Hot” by Snoop Doggy Dog.

It was at that precise moment that I realized that I’ve completely sacrificed all dignity in honor of the credit union movement. (I also now religiously watch You Tube, certain that there is evidence lingering out there.)

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve always been a fan of mascots. They bring smiles and joy to kids of all ages. They’re friendly, fun and represent the personalities of organizations all across America. But here are a few lessons I’ve learned from dressing as a giant letter “i” on numerous unforgettable occasions:

The only way to get attention is to stand out. I can’t tell you how many concerts, chamber events, trade shows, etc. I’ve been to where countless people passed us by. Dress up, be a little on the silly side, and they’ll comes in droves to talk to you. Plus, they’ll bring their kids.

It’s really OK for a financial institution to have a personality. Leave the stiff shirts at home, loosen up and be among the masses. Let bankers sit at their booths and twiddle their thumbs. Who made up the hard rule that banking had to be boring anyway?

Don’t let anyone talk you into dressing up in the middle of July unless you live somewhere north of Alaska.

And if you find yourself dressed up at a concert dropping it like it’s hot to Snoop’s latest, just remember it’s for a good cause.

Kelley Parks is with Call Federal Credit Union in Richmond, Va., and can be reached at kparks callfcu.org. (c) 2008 The Credit Union Journal and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved. http://www.cujournal.com http://www.sourcemedia.com

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