LARGO, Fla. – Pinellas County Teachers Credit Union is hoping to "knight" all of its members. The $288 million credit union journeyed back to the Middle Ages and unearthed a "Bill Slayer" campaign to launch its online bill paying service. With all the financial institutions offering online bill payment, PCTCU Vice President of Marketing Leslie Galea saw this as an opportunity for the credit union to create a unique and exciting brand. PCTCU conducted surveys and had a group test the online service for a year before its launch date. "This is a real loyalty product," said Galea. "Think of it like a safe deposit box-it is a service that ties members into the credit union." According to Galea, since setting up the service requires a small investment of time most members wouldn't want to start over with another institution. In addition Galea cites a recent survey that finds many of the more profitable members use and want online bill paying services. "I've wanted to do Bill Slayer for over two years," said Galea. "I'm just so lucky that my CEO and board here lets me jump outside the lines." So after going through a list of words that rhyme with bill payer, the "Bill Slayer" was forged. PCTCU thumbnailed the concept in house with its telecommuting copywriter Christina Gonzales then had the artwork designed in conjunction with Tampa, Florida-based Cherry Marketing. Playing on the ancient tale of King Arthur, the campaign centers around the image of an ornate steel sword sheathed in a computer monitor with the blade appearing on the lightning-filled computer screen pointing to the credit union's Web address www.ptcu.com and a tagline urging members to "Get medieval on your bills." "Banking is so boring to most people," said Gonzales. "So why not make it fun?" To that end the credit union created a humorous 60-second spot in which a knight saves a damsel in distress over paying her many bills on time, to run on two local ClearChannel radio stations. In addition, the $25,000 campaign includes direct mail pieces; statement inserts; note grabbers; branch posters; banners and user guides. As medieval music plays in branches employees walk with plastic swords knighting members as they sign up for service and pass out candy. Members seem to love the time travel. According to Galea, within the first three weeks 1,000 new members signed up for the free service. With the official revamped Web site launch on October 15th the PCTCU team is gearing up for the expected rush. [email protected]

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