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CHARLOTTE, N.C. – So just how do you make local residents aware that almost anyone can join your credit union? If you are Charlotte-Metro Credit Union you put a banker in a bag or some other disguise. The $100 million credit union has kicked off its quirky awareness campaign, which focuses on how people from all walks of life can take advantage of credit union membership-even bankers are welcome. “While community chartered credit unions are popular in Texas and California, we are only the third credit union here to get a community charter so we found that people here just didn’t get the concept,” said CMCU Vice President Marketing Deb McLean. “We were constantly being asked by interested people, `What company do I need to work for to join Charlotte Metro Credit Union?’ We wanted to make sure people understand that you no longer need to work for a particular company to join. Our last campaign was more just to build awareness of our name but we wanted this one to show that really anyone could join Charlotte-Metro. We felt that this campaign was a fun way of doing that” Turning to the same local creative team from Marketing Extension, that developed the credit union’s award winning “Einstein” campaign, McLean said the banker in disguise gives the new ads the punch it needed. The ads feature people in a variety of occupations joining the credit union, including a banker with either a bag over the head or fake eyeglasses and nose. “One day just for the heck of it we ran a list of where some of our members, direct deposits were coming from and I’m not giving up any of their names but we discovered that hundreds of our members are employees of Bank of America, Wachovia and other banks here. So we knew our banker friends wouldn’t want to be identified,” said McLean. “So playing off that idea that is why they would keep their disguise for their own protection. We were very careful that it would all just be good fun and in no way would be seen as a dig on banks. Because the banks here have done a lot for the community.” The ads featuring each banker’s disguise will be rotated to play up the idea that it is a disguise and not poking fun at bankers. Radio, newspaper, outdoor and sponsorships comprise the media strategy. If the campaign goes well McLean hopes to include television commercials in the media mix sometime next year. Since switching to its community charter, CMCU has grown by 15% in membership. “We really concentrated on keeping the ads lighthearted and positive because some of our best members are bankers,” said McLean. “Before we launched we ran the spots past a few people and the reaction was a laugh or smile. Anyone that gets the credit union philosophy will get this campaign and enjoy it.” [email protected]

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