RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. – Everyone remembers their first car – how they paid for it, the make and model, the color, their first time behind the wheel, maybe even what they named the car. Even if their first car was only a toy car, they can remember that just as fondly. Whatever those memories are, Credit Union Direct Lending wants its 2003 marketing campaign to trigger them and convey to members the value of credit unions and CUDL as financial partners when they're shopping for a vehicle. Unlike previous year's campaigns that emphasized the speed and convenience of financing vehicle loans through a credit union and were designed internally by CUDL's marketing people, Keven Ellison, CUDL's VP of Marketing said the company decided for the first time to work with an outside agency and "build a campaign that had more longterm longevity and gave us more mileage." Working with The Malahat Group International, located in Victoria, Canada, CUDL chose a "Retro America" design for its 2003 campaign. It includes two ad designs – one asks "remember when you couldn't wait to get behind the wheel?"; the second asks "remember how long you waited for your first car?" – that communicate CUDL's core messages and brand image. "With the automotive financing market as competitive as it is, credit unions need to make sure they're represented at the dealership site. The best way to do that is by making sure they maintain a consistent brand image among dealers, as well as their members," said Ellison. In previous years, Ellison said CUDL's marketing campaigns hit a "narrow, tight market." This year's campaign was purposely designed, he said, "to hit a wider demographic range with all age groups." "The train of thought we want members to have is simple," said Ellison. "The old message is still the same, that the emotional prize is still the car. The immediate wish is financing the vehicle, and Credit Union Direct Lending can provide that financing easily." Beginning with the 2003 campaign, the complimentary CUDL marketing materials will be available in January of each year, instead of at midyear as they previously were. The materials will be revised on an annual basis, "in order to maintain a consistent brand image among members, credit unions, and dealers," said CUDL. Judging from the number of orders CUDL has received so far for the marketing pieces, Ellison said the campaign is "a success." Usually CUDL receives orders for one to two million inserts a year, and it's already received orders for 500,000 inserts in just the first two months of this year's campaign. -

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