<p>RIVERSIDE, Calif. – When Riverside County's Credit Union says "people come first" it means it and has opted to feature 16 of its 70,000 members as part of its new brand campaign. The "Makes Perfect Sense" brand campaign kicked off in May and real people from the Riverside County community are now credit union spokespeople. "This campaign is just letting members know that if they have an auto loan with us why not have insurance with us for example, because it makes perfect sense," said RCCU Vice President Marketing/Business Development Ricki McManuis. "And who better to vouch for us than real members?" Claremont, California-based Turk and Company Creative Director Tony Pinto created the ad campaign. "As soon as we heard it we loved the idea," said McManuis. "Not only did it allow our members to have a voice and represent their affiliation with us, but it also demonstrates our credit union as being a greater part of the Riverside County community." In January an open call was held at the branches for credit union members to enter the "star search". Over 75 credit union members answered the open calls and finalists were selected to represent the diversity of membership. The 16 spokespeople are as follows: James Hahn, a 10-year member and local optometrist; Ann Carlson, a special education teacher who has been a member for eight months; John Sarkauskas, who walked across the country as a young man and who has been a member for four years; Kenny Kinzler, a local funeral home cosmetician, member for one year; Patty Boff, eight year member who teaches water aerobics; Gabe Gomez, seven year member who is currently a student; Sylvia Esquivel, a 12-year member and full-time mom; Malea and Don Ortloff, 17-year members; Mel Peters, 18-year member and social worker; Tira Jenkins, substitute teacher and member for two and a half years; Sara Lange, a teacher; Aileena McCabe, a court reporter and member for 15 years; Nancy Peralez, 27 year member and teacher who will be performing at the 2004 Olympic opening ceremony with the Ontario Windsong group; and Merellyn and Richard Heard three year members who have a family of seven. "We have some really good looking members," said McManuis. "Our big push for this year is to target three lifestyle segments: 25-34, 35-50 and 50-65, and over the next four months we plan to send direct mail to promote at least three specific products that would be of interest to each group." According to McManuis every direct mail will have a specific 800-number to track results. In addition as new members come in they too would be included in the mailings. The new branding ads will run in the local Inland Empire Magazine and the Press Enterprise. In addition to being in print, direct mail, brochure and billboard ads, the new "stars" will also be heard on radio commercials airing on four local stations. [email protected]</p>

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