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HARAHAN, La. – Consumer awareness of the state’s credit unions has risen by 40% following a 2003 public awareness campaign conducted by the Louisiana Credit Union League, results of a statewide telephone survey show. The campaign, the first cooperative advertising attempt by the League, featured television and radio advertisements that showcased credit union products and services, and conveyed the message that credit unions offer individuals and families better service, lower rates and fewer fees than other financial institutions. Ads ran for a total of eight weeks, in two flights, on TV and radio outlets in the top seven markets in Louisiana. Ads encouraged viewers to call the League’s toll-free telephone number or to log onto the League’s specially-designed consumer website to learn the benefits of participating in a credit union and to be matched with credit unions in their area through the online search program, CU Match Up. The campaign, which was three years in planning, generated 672 calls to the League’s toll-free number, 5,500 visits to the website, and 1,771 consumer/credit union matches. Forty-eight credit unions and one chapter participated in the campaign, donating $278,316 toward ad placement costs. The Louisiana Credit Union League and CU Cooperative Branching funded ad production. “I’m so proud of our credit unions for coming together and making the 2003 campaign a success,” noted Anne Cochran, LCUL president and CEO. “Working alone, no credit union could have afforded this much air time, however, by working together all Louisiana credit unions are winners.” The League devised a suggested campaign contribution formula of $50 per $1 million of credit union assets, plus 25 cents per member, with a cap of $15,000. All contributors had their information placed on the Web site and included in “The Benefits of Joining a Credit Union” consumer brochure. Contributors above $10,000 had the ability to add their personal tagline to radio and/or television advertisements and to serve on the committee that guided campaign decision-making, including creative direction. In addition to paid advertising, the League negotiated $132,500 in additional advertising at no charge to Louisiana credit unions – $125,000 of television airtime plus $7,500 of radio airtime, obtained by negotiating exclusive agreements with one network in each market. The League, assisted by its advertising agency, the Ehrhardt Group, also negotiated two-for-one advertising on cable television stations. The telephone survey, conducted by Credit Union Movement Strategies, revealed the largest increase in public awareness occurred in the New Orleans area with a 64% jump in awareness, followed by the Lake Charles and Lafayette regions with a 45% increase, and the Baton Rouge area with a 32% increase. The ads reached more women than men. Survey results showed awareness among women increased 48%, compared to 26% by men. The largest group impacted by the ads was 50-64 year-olds (48%), followed by individuals 65 and older (43%), and then 35-49 year-olds (40%). Net change in awareness was highest among individuals with annual incomes of $60,000-$75,000 (62%), followed by those earning $30,000-$45,000 (52%) and those with incomes of $45,000-$60,000 (37%). Overall, consumers were positively affected by the television advertising. Forty percent said they feel more positive about credit unions, while 20% said they received new information from the television ads. Of consumers surveyed, 36% are credit union members with 14% naming credit unions as their primary financial institution. Of those with multiple accounts, 27% use both a credit union and a bank, and 9% use only credit unions, according to the survey. Campaign results exceeded expectations, according to Alicia Toups-Blanda, LCUL communications manager. The League will be evaluating the feedback to determine 2004 advertising strategies, she said. -

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