DULUTH, Ga. -- Two state leagues, Illinois and Georgia, are getting an early jump on advocacy campaigns in 2008 with diverse branding aimed both at reaching a youthful demographic and developing emotional ties to the CU service mission.
For one, the Illinois Credit Union League said it has signed a two-year licensing agreement with the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association to adapt its "iBelong" ad campaign for Illinois CUs starting in May.
The campaign is being financed with $500,000 in seed money approved by the league board plus an estimated $850,000-$900,000 expected in voluntary contributions. The ad buys include radio, print, billboard, Internet, and lastly cable TV if necessary funds are raised.
Meanwhile, Georgia Credit Union Affiliates said it has developed a youth-oriented TV news and billboard campaign highlighted by a positive CU message delivered by country singing star LeAnn Rimes.
"We felt having a celebrity with the caliber and quality of LeAnn Rimes helps our credit unions reach the Generation X market in a fresh, new and exciting way," explained Anita Paul, director of communications at GCUA.
The 30-second TV ads featuring the CU plug by the country star and appearing on outlets across the state will start airing Feb. 4. GCUA has been working with a Birmingham agency since last September to prepare for the campaign, which has already won enthusiastic member support.
In its co-op ads, GCUA has been relying on a "Credit Unions Working Hard for You" branding theme and using Rimes "provides a little something different from other campaigns that we've seen," said Paul.
She said GCUA researched celebrity endorsements under the guidance of FMG Advertising of Birmingham choosing Rimes in large part because of her apparent "squeaky clean image" and youthful appeal.
In addition to musical stardom, added Paul, Rimes is an author of children's books and also serves as a volunteer supporter of Children's Miracle Network.
League leadership in both Illinois and Georgia said their campaigns are directed at reversing the slowdown in membership growth with the Illinois league stressing "iBelong" represents a move to educate Illinois consumers who "are uninformed about credit unions."
Carl Sorgatz, chairman of ICUL and president/CEO of Hawthorne CU, in Naperville, Ill., said a league committee last fall had reviewed many of the existing 17 state league awareness campaigns selecting PCUA's as the one that could get its venture off the ground quickly and was most economical.