Where is our Gor-donne?

I don’t watch a lot of television. It’s not for some philosophical reason and I don’t have any issues with those of you who do, but unless it involves some sort of ball, timely news, or I am on the road in a hotel room, I typically don’t spend much time in front of the tube. All of that is really irrelevant, but it makes for a nice opening statement in a blog post about television commercials.

Watching television, of course, means you will be exposed to commercials. Hopefully some of those are New Jersey Credit Unions’ “Banking You Can Trust” commercials that we run on various platforms here in the Garden State. Some others that I’ve noticed could be credit union commercials but are actually for companies like Nationwide Insurance and USAA.

It makes sense, since many such insurers are mutuals and similar to credit unions, have members. Nationwide puts it out there in plain speak: “Just another way we put members first, because we don’t have shareholders.” USAA promotes membership eligibility for family members of those who served in the military. They then, masterfully in my opinion, focus on the young adults and children in these families with on screen copy such as: “3rd Generation USAA Members” and “Future USAA Member.” This latter example is targeting the same demographic most credit unions covet and they are doing so through a heartfelt connection to family, which is deeply important to many.

These examples are fairly obvious to anyone looking for this type of connection. But there is a new one that jumped out at me recently that doesn’t have as direct of a link. The Sprint Framily Plan commercials (that is not a misspelling). In particular, the young man named Gordon… I’m sorry, that would be Gor-donne. So what does a “framily” that consists of a variety of diverse individuals, including a young girl who speaks French, as cartoon birds fly around her and a frather (yes, frather) who is a hamster, have to do with credit unions?

Not much, aside from the overarching message of inclusion. There are limitations to the “field of membership” in the framily, (you need to use Sprint) but within that group, there is benefit for everyone. For the mysterious Gordon, who lists his interest as: “Nietzsche, neo alt pseudo goth rock, capes and cloaks, lurking” on the Sprint micro-site dedicated to this marketing campaign, the idea of separate bills for the individuals within the framily piques his interest.

What I see in these three commercials is a layering of approaches when it comes to appealing to members, families and then individuals within targeted consumer bases. Comparably, I would put credit unions in the Nationwide Insurance layer. As a whole, we do well speaking about membership and our not-for-profit structure in general terms. When looking at individual credit unions, many may fall into the USAA layer, where there is a more personalized approach to identifying family and other definitive membership criteria that are meaningful to the field of membership. But where is our Gordon?

And by Gordon, I mean the fun promotional campaign that grabs peoples’ attention and goes viral. The campaign that says, hey 20-something Goth dude and other college guy (Chuck), you are welcome here and we have things that would benefit you. A campaign that drills down to the individual and illustrates, in this case through humor, that the membership base is extremely diverse and likely includes others just like you. The others are welcome too (although the NCUA may frown on the frather as a viable member), but let’s be honest, Sprint is pursuing the same younger demographic as USAA, credit unions and many others.

Are there already examples of this in credit union land? If so, please send them my way. Other campaigns by outside-industry companies with messages that would ring true in our movement? Send those as well.

As for me, it’s time for lunch and as Tom (the frather) says: “those tacos aint gunna eat themselves over there.”

Greg Michlig

Greg Michlig

As CUNA’s EVP/Chief Engagement Officer, Greg leads the organization’s Engagement Unit, an internal shared services team which also directs interactions with the credit union community. The team ... Details