If the pistachio industry can do it, can't credit unions?

The discussion of a national brand campaign for the US credit union industry was rekindled yet again. First on Mary Arnold's blog post on the CUES Skybox, then on Ron Shevlin's Marketing Tea Party blog and the conversation continues on Morriss' Partee blog posts about a whether a third-party vendor should be given free reign to fill the bill.

Then I learned about this edgy new national brand campaign from the pistachio industry. There must be a full moon.

This is from an article from Megan Angelo on the Wallet Pop blog.

"The pistachio industry wants to get nut lovers' minds off salmonella and onto sex. Pistachios took a big publicity hit last year when 2 million pounds of the greenish nut had to be recalled due to salmonella contamination.
Now, as USA Today reports, the industry is striking back with a grabby campaign that casts the pistachio alongside winking innuendos ("Mobsters do it with muscle") and C-list celebrities like Adrienne Curry, Chris Knight and the curiously ubiquitous Levi Johnston. (One slightly creepy short stars the five-year-old Denny quintuplets hopping around on bouncy balls as the voice over proclaims that "Quintuplets do it with balance."

Here is the microsite:

The Get Crackin' campaign is extensive and extremely well funded—apparently to the tune of $15 million. It has a user-generated video contest and multiple provoking TV spots. For example:

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Jeffry Pilcher has this to say on Ron's blog about a national credit union brand campaign:

"One thing is for certain, and that is the credit union industry has a huge problem. Research has proven over and over that people don’t know what credit unions are, therefore people don’t consider credit unions as viable financial alternatives. A solution should be found for this problem, whatever name you want to give it. It seems as if a lot of people summarily dismiss the problem because they don’t like the proposed solution (brand campaign)."

Morriss Partee offered this counterpoint:

"I think a common misconception that many credit union professionals and board members hold is that the “Got Milk” campaign was successful. Yes, there was a lot of awareness for the CAMPAIGN; celebrities lined up to be in it…. but the deep dark secret is that it didn’t actually increase SALES of MILK. In fact, it worked brilliantly to commoditize milk, driving many smaller dairy farmers to either go out of business or figure out a way to differentiate themselves DESPITE THE NATIONAL BRANDING CAMPAIGN. Anyone want an additional battle to fight right now? No? No takers?"

CUNA ran an under-the-radar contest last year to see what the crowd could come up with. Speaking of Jeffry Pilcher, his entry won.

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It's a good ad and I'm sure there are plenty more out there that would help promote the credit union difference.

Begs the question: If a nut that nobody thinks about can pull an industry together, shouldn't credit unions? I'm just a credit union fan from Canada. What the heck do I know?

Tim