Credit unions have a unique business model and nowhere is that more apparent than in a zany media spot by Atlantic Central that turns traditional financial marketing on its head. Negligent gym spotters, eager car salesmen, distracted babysitters, dubious tattoo artists and over-zealous magicians all play roles in Trust, an ad aimed at boosting awareness of the benefits of banking with Atlantic Central’s member credit unions in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador and Prince Edward Island.
Trust, which launched last August on news- and social-media channels, forms part of a larger Honest Money campaign, which hit the ground running in 2016 as part of a three-year marketing strategy based on a 2015 research project. That project set out the compelling selling proposition (CSP) of the 49 credit unions represented by Atlantic Central. “Our CSP was trust and honesty,” says Jennifer Murray, director, brand marketing, Atlantic Central. “We then developed the larger idea of ‘refreshingly honest banking’ and that tone runs through all of our campaigns.”
In Trust, this refreshingly unconventional tone appeals directly to “future builders,” the coveted 18-34 demographic.
Do the research
When Atlantic Central decided to go bold, they made sure to back up their quirky media spot with hard facts. “There probably were some partners saying ‘What the heck!’ when they first saw the Trust ad,” admits Murray with a laugh. “That’s why we worked hard up-front — before it debuted — to make sure our member credit unions understood and trusted what we were doing.” That meant explaining that the ad was informed by research and that, though unconventional, it remained true to “who we are, our values and our CSP.”
Every member credit union was also given a “campaign in a box,” a comprehensive package of tools with everything they needed to leverage the campaign. This included posters, digital displays and website banners. Atlantic Central also hosted a launch webinar, giving every branch the opportunity to send at least one person who could then relay the campaign thinking and strategy back to their office.
Echoing the ad’s message, Atlantic Central also asked its members for trust that the ad was based on data and research and to hold Atlantic Central accountable for the results. So far, those results have been positive. While the campaign ended last November, initial statistics are so positive that Murray says the Trust campaign will likely be rerun this year.
Break through the noise
The wackiness of Trust commands attention, while the pace means viewers will likely have to watch the spot a few times to catch all the subtleties. “It’s fun, it’s intriguing and the more you see it, the more it makes sense,” says Murray. “We wanted to break through the noise and that’s what Trust does.” The spot ends with a simple voiceover: “Trust makes a difference — and you can always trust a credit union.” The website Honestmoney.ca ashes across the screen, a direct call to check out what Atlantic credit unions can do for the viewer.
Just like Trust, the larger Honest Money website also breaks through the online noise, targeting “builders” and “future builders” in an easy-to-read site full of age-specific financial advice (how to turn your hobby into a second job or guidance on keeping your finances intact after divorce), as well
as fun pop-culture references. (One article features the characters of the television series “Riverdale” as the basis for some “pop culture financial advice.”) “The articles at Honest Money are a bit bolder but authentic,” says Murray. “We build brand awareness and underline how we’re different, then offer a seamless transition from this site to the reader’s local credit union site. It’s working.” ◊