Credit unions from coast to coast tapped into pop culture, entertainment and social media to raise awareness, engage members and increase revenue in 2013.
Some co-ops took unusual steps to capture members’ attention. For example, the $522 million Credit Union of America in Wichita, Kan., invited attendees at its annual meeting in March to join in doing the Harlem Shake, a popular dance, and to create a video.
To promote the video, the credit union offered $10 iTunes gift cards to the first 500 members to view it, a milestone reached in less than 48 hours, the credit union said.
Crisp concepts, such as One Nevada Credit Union‘s BACON promotion, also heralded new products and services, such as Ca$h Perks, KeepTrack and free text alerts.
The $700 million Las Vegas co-op served up the BACON (Bad A$$ Checking from One Nevada) campaign by producing a series of three commercials featuring a bacon-obsessed mom, digital billboards and print ads featuring a slice of bacon in various situations, such as sporting a trendy moustache.
Speaking of facial hair, two executives at the $2 billion New Jersey-based Affinity Federal Credit Union took part in a beard growing contest this fall to awareness about prostate cancer as part of the Movember (moustache + November) campaign for men’s health, which began in Australia several years ago.
Another trend that began a few years ago has continued to grow with the popularity of movies such as “Zombieland” and “World War Z”. More than a dozen credit unions unleashed the power of the walking dead this year with zombie-related initiatives.
For example, Michigan Community Credit Union deployed the undead in October to revive auto loan revenue. The $120 million Jackson, Mich., organization rolled out Zombie Invasion, a multi-channel engagement campaign that includes a lead-generating microsite, humorous interactive video and an online loan application.
In the past two years, more than 30 credit unions have purchased Zombie Invasion for about $4,000 and many have reported rapid ROI, said Pasadena, Texas-based CU GROW, which designed the off-the-rack campaign.
Another popular movie – “Superman: Man of Steel”, which hit theaters this summer, prompted CU GROW to create a campaign for Bossier FCU that resulted in an additional $1.4 in loan revenue in two months, the Louisiana credit union said.
The superhero campaign included hosting a midnight screening of the film at a local theater, a dedicated microsite, email marketing, social media outreach, a text-to-win promo and a contest that encouraged people to nominate local heroes to win $250 for the hero and $250 for themselves.
“We wanted to tap into the pop culture buzz surrounding the “Man of Steel” movie,” said Shawn Temple, chief operating officer at the $150 million co-op in Bossier City, La. “In two months, we realized an additional $1.4 million in loan volume as a direct result of the digital marketing strategy, and the income generated doubled that of the program costs.”
At least one marketing professional predicts pop culture will continue to play a major role in financial marketing in 2014.
“With a constant awareness of what is relevant to consumers in their lives beyond finances, credit unions can continue to generate leads for loans and new accounts through the correlation of patterns in pop culture,” said James Robert Lay, CEO of CU Grow.