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FLINT, Mich. – Dort Federal Credit Union has taken a little “Hometown Pride” and turned it in to a successful brand awareness campaign. At a time when the town of Flint was under some scrutiny by the media regarding the municipality’s political and financial challenges, the $285-million credit union decided to run an advertising campaign that would remind residents why Flint is not only a good place to live and raise a family but also do business. “When we were approved for a community charter in December 2002, we looked at what other credit unions were doing to promote their community charter and found that the overriding message was `now you can join’ without illustrating why consumers should join the credit union,” said Dort FCU Vice President of Marketing/Business Development Tom Gisewhite. “Wanting to emphasize and show consumers why they should join, we decided that our 2003 campaign would look beyond the financial and political issues our community faces and note several positive and influential institutions that not only deserve recognition but applause for being among the best in their field -including our credit union.” According to the campaign, Flint’s many bragging rights include a world-renowned educational institution Kettering University; unique state of-the-art expertise of the Neo-Natal ICU at Hurley Medical Center; the unrivaled Flint Cultural Center; Bishop International Airport, which is one of the fastest growing transportation hubs in the nation; and the Flint Farmers market, which is a longtime local trade center known as much for being a point of interaction as it is for the products and services it provides. Dort Federal CU developed five, unique one-minute television spots of which the first 30 seconds of each spot featured images of one institution and detailed what it brings to the community as a source of hometown pride. The remaining 30 seconds featured Dort FCU products and services and ended with a map of the new eligibility areas and the tagline Dort FCU.Proud of our hometown and proud of what we can do for you. “By associating the credit union with longstanding successful positive images not only benefits us, but it also shows that we are a leader in the community, and the feedback on the ads has been so fantastic and positive,” said Gisewhite. “In fact the local ABC affiliate which has the strongest ratings in the market was so impressed with our message and the production quality of the ads, that they ran the television spots whenever they had excess inventory at no charge. It was treated like a public service announcement, and sometimes the ads would run 32 times in one month in these great timeslots that if we had to pay for would’ve been too costly.” While he wouldn’t give specifics on the cost of the campaign, Gisewhite did say that Dort FCU’s total budget for electronic media is in excess of $100,000. In addition to the television spots, Dort FCU also ran a print campaign with the local newspaper. Through the paper’s Partners in Charity program, organizations that buy a full-page ad also receive another free ad for a local nonprofit. With that in mind Dort FCU’s print series of full-page hometown pride ads played up the idea of commitment, teamwork and performance while also showcasing some local charities. Gisewhite says the real challenge was narrowing down the list of local social and goodwill organizations to determine which would get the free ad spot. “We wanted a diverse make-up of organizations represented and each time one ad ran we’d get calls from other great organizations that wanted to be placed on the list as well,” said Gisewhite. “While it is still early in the campaign, we’re convinced by the community feedback that this has been an overwhelming success.” Where the 2003 spots were more of a macro approach to build the image and awareness of the credit union, Gisewhite says the “hometown pride” ads for this year will focus more on the “level of service provided and how proud we are of what our products can do for members.” “This whole campaign has been fun to do and is the type of thing that as a marketer at the end of the day you just feel good because you’ve given back to the community while doing your job.” said Gisewhite. [email protected]

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