Bucks First Federal Credit Union hit the Web last week with an Internet commercial using humor to spread the word about local businesses.
The credit union was the winner of the "I Love Local Commercials" project launched by MicroBilt, a risk-management provider for credit unions and small businesses, with the help of comedians and Internet video creators Rhett McLaughlin and Link Neal. The Web site ilovelocalcommercials.com was created for consumers, employees and business owners to nominate their favorite local small business to receive a free commercial made by McLaughlin and Neal.
Bucks First was the ninth business to be selected for a commercial. Other winners include a tattoo shop, the Central Florida Zoo, a music store and Cullman Liquidation, a mobile home seller.
Braden Young, marketing coordinator for Bucks First, follows YouTube videos and heard about the campaign by following McLaughlin and Neal's videos. He nominated the credit union and a month later McLaughlin and Neal came to Bristol, Pa., to shoot the commercial.
McLaughlin and Neal visited the credit union, met the employees and even filled in as tellers before shooting the commercial in one day.
The idea behind the commercial was to mirror it after the typical scripted local commercial that features the employees of the business as the actors. McLaughlin and Neal brought in a fellow YouTube video maker, Ed Bassmaster, to play a prank on the employees as they auditioned for parts in the commercial.
"They did quite a bit in a one-day shoot. It was great to have the entire staff involved. Since we are a financial institution the commercial was a little more serious than some of the other ones they had done, but it was still fun," Young said.
Prior to the release of the commercial, a behind the scenes video was posted on rhettandlink.com. Young said he could tell from the comments on the video that people were anxious to see the commercial, and some people said they lived in Bucks County and wanted to know where the credit union is located.
"We definitely want to capitalize on this. You don't get this kind of opportunity too often, especially for credit unions," Young said.
The credit union had T-shirts made to hand out to people coming into the credit union last Thursday after the commercial went live.
McLaughlin said that the commercials have created a local and global buzz for each of the featured businesses.
"It's tough to measure the exact impact, but the stories indicate that the ads have resulted in increased business. Considering that the ads are free and a lot of fun for the businesses, most of the owners consider resulting business as a cherry on top of an unforgettable experience," McLaughlin added.
The winners of the commercials are selected by McLaughlin and Neal from the list of nominees. Young said that when they came to the credit union, both McLaughlin and Neal revealed that they are credit union members.
"A free commercial from us and Microbilt seemed like the perfect way to celebrate the way that credit unions benefit their members," McLaughlin said. "The commercial captures the spirit of the quintessential scripted local commercial, complete with employee actors and a mascot (a buck, of course). But there's a serious message under the ridiculous exterior: credit unions 'treat your bucks right,' in contrast to banks that might not always have your best interest in mind."