In the spirit of the spooky season, Credit Union Times has rounded up some clever Halloween campaigns which helped credit unions promote products and services, increase membership and revenue, and leave the competition behind in the graveyard.
Grab your garlic, goofy masks and ghost-busting tools before taking a look at these video treats.
Channeling Michael Jackson to Thrill Members (next page)
Thriller in Detroit
Members who walk into Community Choice Credit Union’s branch in Warren, Mich., usually expect smiles, warm greetings and friendly customer service, but Halloween brings strange things.
Visitors have been greeted with a flashback from the past last Halloween as staff members mimicked Michael Jackson’s moves across the lobby floor.
The $490 million institution in Farmington Hills, Mich., does special things each year to celebrate Halloween, engage members and support the community.
For instance, Community Choice CU recently co-sponsored the 2013 Halloween Party and Awards Ceremony for the Miracle League of Michigan, a non-profit organization that provides disabled children with the opportunity to play baseball.
Zombie Apocalypse Preparedness
The federal fiscal fiasco over the past few months may have caused gloom about financial doom, but that’s nothing in comparison to a zombie apocalypse.
In case creatures crawl out of coffins and swarm the earth, Denver Community Credit Union wants its 25,000 members to be ready, willing and able to escape the wrath, preferably in a reliable, newly financed car.
As a “Happy Halloween” message to members, the $254 million Colorado institution produced
a spoof on zombie horror flicks and posted it on YouTube, prompting comments ranging from “Hilarious...was that a real commercial?” to “Zombies run the big banks. It was brainless zombies who legislated "let the regulated regulate themselves" after all.“
Next Page: Spooktacular Fun
Treating Members to Spooktacular Fun
Caution: Strobe lights may cause credit union executives to black out during the budgeting process.
The staff at Community Resource Federal Credit Union are big fans of Halloween and their community. This is the third year that the $70 million institution in Latham, N.Y., has hosted Haunted Asylum to benefit two local charities.
Employees designed sets, displayed decorations and donned undead costumes for this year’s haunted attraction, held last weekend.
“The employees absolutely love this event and we get some family members involved as well,”said Wendy Meola, director of marketing for the 6,400-member credit union. “It's a lot of work, but it's such a great team building effort.”
This year’s fundraiser drew almost 200 visitors and included a calendar raffle, which enabled the credit union to donate almost $3,200 to Interfaith Partnership for the Homeless in Albany, N.Y. and Mohawk Hudson Humane Society in Menands, N.Y., she said.
Next Page: Reviving Auto Loans
Reviving Auto Loans with Walking Dead
Breaking News: Zombies Invade Michigan Community Credit Union!
The $120 million Jackson, Mich., organization recently deployed the undead to revive auto loan revenue by launching Zombie Invasion, a multi-channel engagement campaign that includes a lead-generating microsite: lookoutforzombies.com, which features:
● an interactive video that allows users to select different scenarios;
● a link to a zombie make-over app from the AMC television series “The Walking Dead”;
● zombie apocalypse survival tips; and
● an online loan application.
“We are having so much fun with this campaign! Last weekend, we teamed up with our local zombie walk to raise money for the March of Dimes and this week we have zombies pumping free gas at a local gas station,” said Tina Hamilton, interim CEO of Michigan Community CU.
The lead generation and digital marketing firm CUGROW (formerly PTP New Media) of Pasadena, Texas, unleashed Zombie Invasion in 2011 and now houses it under the CU*SWAG brand.
In the past two years, more than 30 credit unions have purchased the off-the-rack campaign for about $4,000 and many have reported rapid ROI, the company said.
“It is great to catch attention and generate leads as all marketing pieces point back to a campaign specific landing page for each credit union with a short lead form to show interest and continue to apply online,” said Nida Ajaz, marketing and operations manager of CU*SWAG.
After unleashing zombies at Coastal Community FCU in 2011, the credit union was almost knocked dead with the results, said Carol Gaylord, CEO of the $50 million institution in Galveston, Tex.
"We issued 80 new vehicle loans totaling $1,294,322.52, which left my loan officers feeling like zombies, but they made a killing on warranties and GAP,” she said.
Next Page: Insuring the Undead
Life Insurance Via the Undead
Whether battling big banks or the undead, the $453 million IC Federal Credit Union is using education and humor to engage members and aiming to arm local residents with credit union superpowers.
The Fitchburg, Mass., institution said it has received rave reviews from members for a series of five irreverent; yet educational videos released last year, including an animated video on life insurance that asks viewers, “How can you support your family if you’re a zombie?”
To increase engagement, the zombie life insurance video included a QR code to allow instantaneous video viewing on mobile devices.
Next Page: Papery Blast From the Past
Papering Trees to Promote Goodwill and Local Businesses
Forget about the old Halloween tradition of tossing toilet paper into trees. That can get you into trouble with the local constabulary!
The $2 billion Summit Credit Union discovered a much nicer way of “papering” trees during the 2010 Haunted Hustle Marathon in Madison, Wis.
As part of its employee community service initiative, Summit’s Do More Team planted a money tree during the local fundraiser in 2010. They attached 500 $1 bills to branches, along with notes stating, What if money grew on trees? Would you take it? Share it? Would it make you smile?
Staff invited people to take a bill and spend it at a local business.
Joanne Belanger, senior vice-president of marketing at the 125,000-member Summit, said the mission of the Do More Team was simple: Deliver random acts of kindness in our communities.
Spread goodwill and generosity throughout the year. Expect nothing in return.
Next Page: Classic Triple Threat
Frankenstein and Wolfman and Dracula, Oh My!
Educators Credit Union relied on a barrage of Halloween classics such as Frankenstein, Wolfman and Dracula to promote loans, custom debit cards, mobile banking, and other products and services during a 2011 campaign.
The $1.5 billion credit union in Mount Pleasant, Wis., invited viewers of the videos to comment on Educators CU’s Facebook or Twitter page to receive special treats such as great loan rates and a free necklace.
The credit union also used a blog post titled “Zombie Apocalypse and Your Car” to remind members about the importance of maintaining reliable transportation and to take care of investments, such as vehicles.
Next Page: Some Final Treats
Enjoyed those? Many of the latest steaming cauldron of offerings were highlighted recently in a GoBankingRates.com article titled, "10 Best Credit Unions With Ghoulish Halloween Events This Year," which included:
● The $334 million, 32,000-member Bridgewater CU in Bridgewater, Mass., which is inviting members to submit their children's Halloween drawings for a chance to win a $100 gift card;
● The $740 million, 65,000-member Collins Community CU in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, which is hosting trick-or-treating and a charity rock concert for members; and
● The $1 billion, 70,000-member Dupaco Community CU in Dubuque, Iowa, which ispartnering with a local radio station and a movie theater to show "Hotel Transylvania", with the admission of 92 cents going to a local theater company.