The "Drop the Bank" campaign, launched in partnership with PSCU Financial Services, rewarded City-County with a 44% increase in Advantage Checking accounts opened by 18-34-year-olds. Half of the accounts were opened by new members and the rest were opened by existing members who moved to the Advantage Checking product.
The Advantage Checking account is a high-rate account requiring a specific number of debit transactions a month and e-statements.
The campaign stemmed from PSCU's Project New Age, a Gen Y initiative the company launched two years ago. As part of Project New Age, PSCU wanted to select a credit union to partner with to create a Gen Y marketing campaign.
PSCU selected City-County and approached the credit union to split the cost of the campaign 50/50 each.
"We've had some success in increasing our younger members and thought this would be a good way to reach out to more young people. We have a pretty extensive financial literacy program, and we thought 'Drop the Bank' would be a good complement to that," said Jerry Deyo, vice president of marketing at City-County.
Together, City-County and PSCU set a budget and put together a marketing strategy that included advertising tactics the credit union had not tried before, such as assembling a street team and developing a Facebook page.
For the street team, they went through a small, local agency to hire young adults right out of college themselves to work the areas around the colleges in the region. The teams would go on campus or to nearby popular restaurants and pass out air fresheners with the image of a "bad banker" that said, "Do not go to dropthebank.com."
PSCU and City-County created the microsite dropthebank.com for the campaign. The site highlighted the advantages of credit unions over banks, information about credit union locations and an "apply now" feature.
"If you give anybody something in their hand that says don't go to this Web site, of course they're to going to go to it and see what it is," explained Susan Follick, PSCU segment marketing manager.
The Advantage Checking street team put up posters and drew sidewalk graphics and chalk stencils of the bad banker image.
The bad banker was also the star of what Follick called the heart of the campaign, a video posted to YouTube and the Drop the Bank Facebook page.
The video showed a young man in his college dorm room signing up for an online bank account. As he's signing up, the bad banker appears and takes his dog as collateral. Angry that the bank would treat a new customer that way, the young man checks out a credit union Web site. A nice credit union employee appears and explains how credit unions are different and don't require collateral. The nice credit union employee then pepper sprays the bad banker as the young man signs up with the credit union online.
"It was a great creative aspect of the campaign and a fun way to portray hidden fees and issues that banks have to deal with," Follick said.
Though the Drop the Bank campaign is over, Deyo said the credit union plans to use it again in the future.
During the campaign, the microsite drew 4,400 visits and the video had 2,300 unique viewers.