SC Telco Federal Credit Union launches “Don’t Get Banked” campaign

New spokesperson, aggressive messaging aimed at accelerating public perception

Tying & duct-taping a banker to a chair?  Strapping him to a lie detector and uncovering dirty little banking industry secrets?  It’s all in fun, but no laughing matter, as South Carolina-based SC Telco Federal Credit Union has launched a new, aggressive branding campaign designed to capture existing public frustration and pain associated with the antiquated and struggling banking industry model, and to accelerate public adoption of Credit Unions as a progressive alternative for traditional banking needs.

“The current banking climate is nothing new, we just decided to take an “enough is enough” approach to a longstanding problem that our members, our market and our research have told they’re fed up with,” said Steve Harkins, SC Telco CEO.  “It’s no secret that there are real problems with the traditional banking model and system, including self-inflicted challenges stemming from erosion of public trust, M&A activity, and lack of local decision-making capabilities.  All those and other factors have fueled a shift in consumers looking for alternatives for their ‘banking’ needs.”

The “Don’t Get Banked” campaign positions the credit union alternative as, “A Better Way to Bank.”  After a national search for the right fit for the campaign, it includes a new spokesperson, “Moxie,” and her “former banker Bill.”  Through a fresh, humorous series of scenarios, the campaign highlights common frustrations consumers have about the banking industry.  The spots also point out, tongue-and-cheek style, that ‘no bankers were injured during filming.’

“After several discussions with Steve [Harkins] and the team at SC Telco, we believed the climate was right to take a bold position in the market and it wasn’t very risky, since consumers have been voicing the pains and frustrations we included in the messaging,” said Geoff Wasserman, CEO of The Brand Leader, the branding company that developed the concept. “Aside from the humor, we saw this as an opportunity to not only educate the public about the value that credit unions can offer, but as a catalyst for opening the consumer’s eyes to the credit union value proposition. It was critical to find the right persona who resonated with longstanding members but also millennials and other segments of the market who may not be familiar with the tremendous offerings of credit unions. Fortunately, the messaging seems to have struck a nerve, as it has clearly been resonating in the market.”

In current and future videos and components of the campaign, Moxie tackles everything from customers who feel nickeled-and-dimed through hidden fees, feel baffled as loan decisions are made out-of-state, and others who are upset that they’re forced to bank at inconvenient hours and endure poor customer service. In a series of smaller spots that will play at branch locations, Moxie also lets current members know about convenient services SC Telco offers, such as mobile alerts, remote check deposit and other competitive offerings that credit unions now routinely offer that traditionally were perceived as banking-only offerings.

According to Harkins, the overall messaging is not only meant to serve SC Telco membership, but also to promote the credit union message and value proposition. “Credit unions are dramatically different from for-profit banking institutions because we’re owned by our members not shareholders. Our model allows us to put profits back into member services and lower interest rates and to work with other credit unions to the benefit of all rather than compete,” said Harkins. “As an established group and industry leader for more than 80 years, we felt it was important to lead the charge and create messaging that helps all credit unions, and the members they serve.”

To view images and videos from the campaign:

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