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al.com: Alabama, Florida credit union ad campaign seeks big bank customers

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The League of Southeastern Credit Unions has launched a $1.2 million advertising campaign in 13 markets in the two states to help boost the visibility of credit unions and explain what they offer. It's the second phase of a campaign created by Birmingham-based advertising agency Scout Branding Co., which also did the creative work for a $1.3 million advertising campaign the credit union organization ran last fall.

The new TV commercial has a young actor walking down a street near Pepper Place in Birmingham, pointing out a variety of characters along the way to help prove his point: "Sixty percent of people don't know what a credit union is," the man says in the commercial. "What if 60 percent of people didn't know what coffee is, or what a car wash is, or what pants are?"

"In an entertaining way, Scout's creative ideas are showing consumers that credit unions are modern, have everything they want in a financial institution and save them money through lower rates and fees," said Patrick La Pine, chief executive of the credit union group. "We have seen through research and analytics that consumers are seeing the campaign and they are considering moving their business to a credit union."

While considering a number of agencies in Alabama and Florida, La Pine said someone recommended the organization contact Scout, which had created a campaign for Birmingham-based America's First Federal Credit Union. That campaign, featuring actors dressed as bankers in a confessional booth admitting their banking sins, was mentioned in publications including The New York Times.

Both campaigns utilize a combination of television, radio, social media and public relations. Another key component of the campaign is the website, www.betternameforbanking.com, which shows how credit unions differ from banks and also helps visitors find nearby credit unions. The commercials in major markets will run for a total of six weeks, paced in two-week increments with a week break between each set.

Paul Crawford, Scout's president and creative director, said he wanted to make sure this new campaign wasn't just an infomercial. "We had to keep it from being dry as toast," he said. "We had to keep it entertaining so we started thinking that not knowing what a credit union is like.¤.¤.fill in the blank."

The first campaign, which began last fall, was a success, La Pine said. Since the commercials ran in September, Alabama credit unions have gained 38,000 new members and increased their assets by $1 billion. In Florida, assets increased $2 billion during the same time period. That much gain would normally take four or five quarters, he said.

Read the complete story on al.com.

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