MACU recognized its peers in its MACQUEE competition May 28 by holding its awards ceremony online, complete with chats, tweets and Webinars.
"We sure had a lot of fun doing this, encouraging participants to chat their acceptance or send congratulations to the winners, and I even got some compliments on my virtual tux," explained Paul Stull, who served as emcee for the event as he did in person a year ago. "There were other comments on virtual evening gowns and Harry Winston jewels, just like the Oscars."
The top honoree was CoastHills FCU of Lompoc, Calif., for its "Deals for All Wheels" loan campaign. The other three MACQUEE finalists were FAA First FCU, Los Angeles; Pacific Service CU, Walnut Creek, Calif., and Valley First CU, Modesto, Calif.
Scott Coe, senior vice president of marketing for CoastHills and the incoming MAC chairman, said the online ceremony received favorable reviews, and the group is considering the format now for other MAC programs. However, MAC noted that it does have hotel commitments in Palm Desert, Calif., the site for the 2010 ceremony.
The trade group canceled its live annual conference set for a San Antonio hotel because of CU budget constraints.
Stull, senior vice president of marketing for Arizona State CU, said he thought he might have been "the first ever virtual emcee for a CU industry event and maybe any awards event," noting also that participants could even post live tweets during the ceremony. "We even had our own hashtag," or short messages attached to Twitter entries.
The winning entry, CoastHills' "Deals for all Wheels" campaign promoting auto loans, was conducted April 1 through July 31, 2008 and drew more than $100 million in loans, more than five times the goal. In addition, the credit union brought in 3,750 new member accounts.
The campaign using a 30-second TV spot produced at a local drive-in theater was designed to compete with the popular manufacturers' financing deals and remind members that they have alternatives.
Assisting CoastHills in the campaign was Data Based Marketing, which relied on "a visual metaphor to quickly convey that the offer was good on virtually all vehicles and that one location where you can see all kinds of vehicles is at a drive-in movie theater," said David Dawson, a principal of the firm.
"Once we had the drive-in movie theater marquee as the signature of the campaign, we went overboard with the creative," added Coe. Along with a 30-second TV spot produced at the drive-in, other marketing items included direct-mail postcards, brochures, statement envelopes, e-mail blasts and ATM posters.