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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Members Credit Union is counting on a case of double vision to encourage members to save. “Americans simply aren’t saving money,” said MCU Vice President of Marketing Eric Stiff. “Our duty as a not-for-profit financial institution is to find a way to help members learn both the benefit and necessity of putting money aside.” The recently launched “Seeing Double” campaign gives members the chance to get their payroll deductions, direct deposits, check orders, and even their down payments on automobile loans doubled. The campaign revolves around an imaginary employee in the fictional “Deposits Department,” who, because of his incompetence, “accidentally” doubles member deposits. Members must use MCU decoder glasses to find out what he’s done and if they are winners. Here is how it works. The promotion has four basic components: Double Your Deduction, Double Your Direct Deposit, Double Your Down Payment, and Double Your Check Order. Members who open a new checking account are given a scratch-off card and with the glasses either reading “congratulations” or “sorry try again.” Three out of five of these cards are winners and the credit union will order the lucky winners a second order of checks for free. Members that increase their payroll deductions to savings by at least $5 are entered into a weekly drawing for a chance to have their deduction doubled. In addition, a quarterly drawing will be held that the credit union will match the total account balance up to $500. Not wanting to cheat members who have always deposited their entire paycheck, they are entered into a monthly drawing where the credit union will double the amount of their deposit up to $500. The car payment double down payment is the only part of the promotion that will not run all year and is limited to the first 10 winners who are provided scratch-off cards for a chance to have their down payment doubled. One out of every 10 cards is a winner, and according to MCU Director of Public Relations Matt Davis so far already two members have walked away winners. “We wanted to make sure with this promotion that winning is realistic not like most programs where consumers don’t feel like they have a snowball’s chance of ever winning,” said Davis. “So with the checking, three out of five are winners and the down payment it is a one in 10 chance, which makes for pretty good odds and we emphasized that in our ads.” As for the “Seeing Double” idea, Davis says he was inspired by a co-worker who wore an oversized pair of sunglasses during last year’s payroll deduction promotion. “All the branches were decorated as vacation getaways and it cracked me up how he looked in these sunglasses,” said Davis. “So I started thinking about something with glasses and doubling prizes-without giving the credit union away and it all came together.” Working as a team with Stiff, MCU Public Relations Assistant Carla Kimel, and Marketing Assistant Cynthia King, Davis spent about three weeks learning how to design and create coded messages so the credit union could print the promotional materials in-house. “My office is by the entrance of the main lobby so I eventually had to close the blinds in my office because members were walking by wondering who was this guy in these crazy glasses working furiously over his computer,” said Davis. “Our basic goal with this whole campaign was to get members who walk in the front door asking `what is all this’ and break the ice while showing staffers that cross-selling doesn’t have to be in your face but can be fun.” Once the design elements and encoded messages were perfected MCU turned to Tennessee-based American Paper Optics for the decoder glasses and Clearwater, Florida-based Direct Check marketing for the 10,000 scratch-off cards. Davis says approximately $15,000 to $20,000 has been budgeted for this promotion with $1,000 spent on scratch-off cards; $2,000 on decoder glasses; $1,000 on banners and posters; and the remainder going toward prizes. “When all is said and done hopefully the effects will far outweigh what was spent and a key to keeping costs down was doing so much in-house,” said Davis. To spread the word, “Seeing Double” ads have been posted on billboards, radio spots, in newspapers, and swirls dominate both the printed and electronic newsletters. The CU also worked with its SEGs to get the message out. “Again the idea is to get the members to put on the glasses, have fun decoding a message and prompt them to ask our direct sponsor affiliation on-site staff `what does this mean and how can I do this’,” said Davis. “We also created a poster with glasses attached and tear sheets that if taken to their HR department they are given a gift of Groucho Marx glasses with the Members CU logo on the nose. With 50,000 members and 410 SEGs, we wanted to hit members from every angle not just at our branches.” While it is still early in the campaign Davis says so far the feedback from members and staff alike has been overwhelmingly positive. [email protected]

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