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HIGHTSTOWN, N.J. – First it was the airwaves, now Credit Union Affiliates of New Jersey is taking the credit union message to the streets. Three months after CUANJ launched its first-ever television campaign to educate consumers in the state about credit unions, the association has expanded its public awareness campaign to include New Jersey Transit buses. Seven-foot long billboards began appearing on the exterior of buses this month, and smaller versions are featured inside buses as well. The two ads – one reading “Credit Unions Are Financial Cooperatives Owned by Members,” and the other stating that “People Just Like You Own Credit Unions” – feature CUANJ’s 800-number, as well as the Web address for the California Credit Union League’s CU Match-Up program – www.joinacu.org.- which CUANJ belongs to. Both ads highlight the fact that people are the focus of crdit unions. The ads were designed by the Malahat Group International, Victoria, British Columbia, which also designed CUANJ’s television campaign ads as well as CUNA’s national credit union brand campaign. CUANJ Director of Public Relations Evan Childs said the association decided to expand the league-sponsored campaign to include buses because of the success it’s had with the television campaign. That success, said Childs, was determined based on the number of hits CUANJ was able to ascertain using its Web Master that have gone through an exit point on the league’s Web site to CU Match-Up. In addition, consumers calling in for credit union information through CUANJ’s 800-number have been asked how they learned of the phone number, and Childs said many of them said it was through information in the television ads. Those ads include six 15-second spots that are rotated every other week to appear on New Jersey Network (NJN) Television and its sister National Public Radio (NPR) radio station, as well as the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) World News broadcast. The television and radio ads will run through October, and the bus campaign will run for four months and wrap up in July. To build on the momentum of the public’s growing awareness of credit unions generated by the two campaigns, CUANJ is in the process of forming a cooperative advertising plan among credit unions in the state that will invite CUs to pool their resources to allow CUANJ to conduct a broader advertising campaign the association says will not only include radio, television and billboards, but also the Internet, newspapers, magazines, and other media most CUs couldn’t afford to advertisse in on their own. “Advertising in New Jersey is very expensive. We’re squeezed between the Philadelphia market in the south and New York in the north,” Childs said. CUANJ began mailing cooperative advertising plan packets to its 220 affiliated credit unions the week of March 24, offering CUs the opportunity to contribute to the initiative. The association implemented four “fair share” contribution levels, based on CUs’ assets: under $10 million, $250; $10 million to less than $50 million, $500; $50 million to less than $100 million, $750; and over $100 million, $1,000. Credit unions can contribute less than the designated fair share amount for their asset group, but only credit unions that contribute their fair share will be permitted to appoint one employee or board member to the cooperative advertising campaign’s advertising and marketing advisory committee and have voting rights on the overall cooperative advertising investment. To gauge credit unions’ interest in a cooperative advertising plan, Child said the subject was discussed at various chapter meetings, and the response from credit unions was positive. “Credit unions in New Jersey suffer from a lack of public awareness, but advertising in the state is an unaffordable option for most CUs. The cooperative advertising plan is a way to get the credit union message out to the public and give credit unions the opportunity to share ideas and have a say in their advertising investment,” said Childs. -

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