Finalists for 2008 MACQUEE profiled

From a pool of over 400 entries nationwide, judges have selected five campaigns to compete for the MACQUEE, MAC’s Best in Show in its 2008 Awards Competition. The winner will be announced on Thursday, May 22, 2008 at the Newport Beach Marriott in Newport Beach, CA during MAC’s 22nd Annual Conference. Finalists include: Bellco CU (Greenwood Village, CO), Common Wealth CU (Lloydminster, Alberta), Kern FCU (Bakersfield, CA), US Federal CU (Burnsville, MN) and Wescom CU (Pasadena, CA).

Young & Free Product Launch & Spokesperson Search

  • Market Segment Program
  • Common Wealth Credit Union
  • Assets: Greater than $500 million
  • Jeff Mulligan, CEO
  • Currency Marketing, Agency

Many credit unions talk about the importance of attracting the youth sector as members. Those that are truly serious about it should look closely at Common Wealth CU’s innovative use of social media and technology.

According to Jeff Mulligan, Common Wealth’s CEO, it’s a turbulent time for youth in transition—better known as the 17 to 25 year old segment. “No one is listening to them, or valuing them as a consumer in our market place. We wanted our CU to be an organization that was committed to fostering a dialogue with this group and give them a product that will help them get a firm footing in the world,” said Mulligan.

In this case, the product—a free youth checking account called “Young and Free” for Northern Alberta’s 25 and under group—was hardly a new concept. The strategy for targeting this group was quite a bit more innovative—Common Wealth sponsored a province-wide spokesperson search to find someone who could engage this group in conversation about their financial needs. To promote the search, they set up a special microsite and then drove traffic to it by establishing a presence on various social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter. The site was also used to conduct final voting among three finalists and was the subject of a number of TV and newspaper stories across Alberta.

The winner, 19-year old visual arts student Larissa Walkiw, received a one-year contract with Common Wealth, was provided a leased vehicle, digital video camera, phone and MacBook laptop to utilize as a means of connecting with her age group. A dedicated branch employee from the Young & Free target audience supports Larissa, providing administrative backup at the organizational level. Her responsibility in the 20-hour per week post is to continue to bring the Young & Free brand to life, through blogs and podcasts—or in other words, “talk, type and tell good stories.”

While the early stages of the campaign were directed at creating awareness of the Young & Free checking account and selecting a spokesperson, Mulligan indicates that the member acquisition will be the focus for the remainder of 2008. Judging from the initial results, Common Wealth should not be disappointed with the youth segment that they are aiming to capture.