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Credit Unions Historically Throw 'Killer' Halloween Campaigns

Credit Unions Historically Throw 'Killer' Halloween Campaigns

Credit union members have typically enjoyed some of the most creative Halloween-based promotions and campaigns and most likely 2015 won’t disappoint.

One of the most prolific campaigns held during the Bank Transfer Day era was thrown by Carolina Postal Credit Union ($81 million, Charlotte, NC). Dug up from 2011, “infected” credit union employees were transformed into zombies and staged an attack on the Wells Fargo stage coach in order to convince the public to stop being a banker zombie.

In 2011, zombies were hotter than hot and at the time, Deb McClean, vice president of marketing and business development told CU Management the credit union had signed on to the novel promotion launched by PTP New Media, and McLean had spent days “zombifying” thrift-store clothing and consulting with makeup artists about how to transform her cast of employees and theater students from a local high school. The zombies were eager to enliven Carolina Postal CU’s booth at Octoberfest in Hickory and mingle with the crowd.

Leveraging the campaign to sell auto loans, Carolina Postal focused on low auto loan rates and gave away $50 with each new auto loan. The campaign was a resounding success as Carolina Postal experienced an 83% increase in average volume for auto loans in October in addition to an 88% increase in new members, and a 50% rise in checking accounts.

In a twist of fate, Wells Fargo had just taken over Wachovia, providing a gateway for unbridled theatrics for Carolina Postal. The stagecoach “takeover” coupled with a myriad of marketing efforts went beyond just selling products and services.

“People will talk about it if a zombie hands them something,” McLean told Credit Unions Online in 2011. “We had so many people come up and want their photos taken with the zombies, from the Miss Hickory beauty queen to police officers. And it worked well with the postcard, which a lot of people mentioned. They said, ‘I’ve always wanted to join a credit union, but I didn’t even know about yours.’”

Also participating in the zombie invasion was Element Federal Credit Union ($28 million, Charleston, WV) with the Zombie Card and Zombie Account. Launched following the 2011 credit union zombie invasion, Element offers a free checking and debit card, fronted with a pretty ghoulish card design and referred to as a “no brainer” account. Although appropriate during Halloween, Element offers and promotes the account and debit card year-round.

Beyond the Undead…

Last year, in conjunction with the people helping people mantra, Genisys Credit Union ($1.5 billion, Auburn Hills, MI) participated in the national “Don’t Be a Monster” anti-bullying campaign aimed to educate and enlighten students about the horrors of bullying and exclusion.

“Studies show that 28% of students in grades 6-12 experience bullying and that 70.6% of young people say they have seen bullying in their schools,” said Jackie Buchanan, Genisys Credit Union President and CEO said in a statement. “We care about the youth in our community and want to help them understand how name calling, teasing, spreading rumors, leaving people out and other actions can hurt people. We are pleased to support the efforts of Don’t Be a Monster.”

The credit union partnered with Erebus Haunted Attraction and Olympia Entertainment’s local stage favorite Evil Dead: The Musical at the City Theatre to support the anti-bullying efforts. All guests can elect to donate $5 to “Don't Be a Monster” when they purchase tickets online by using the promo code GENISYS or by showing their Erebus ticket stub at the venue.

Genisys Credit Union members who use the promo code GCU for advance weekday tickets to Erebus will receive $3 off their ticket and $5 will go to the anti-bullying program.

In another effort to help members, credit unions also used Halloween to promote health and fitness. In the past credit unions like Summit Credit Union ($1.9 billion, Madison, WI) and First Florida Credit Union ($403 million, Jacksonville, FL) are either hosting or supporting some type of spooky fun run.

What’s Happening Halloween 2015?

Looking for something more current? Verve Credit Union ($580 million, Oshkosh, WI) has gotten in on the whole “pumpkin spice” craze and re-released its Pumpkin Spice Loan, allowing members to lower their car, truck, boat, ATV, snowmobile or camper loan rate by up to 1% when they financial their loan from another financial institution.

Great Lakes Credit Union ($693 million, Bannockburn, IL) is looking out for their younger members by once again holding a Child Safety Fair on Saturday, October 3rd.

“This event is always well attended. Its primary purpose is to educate families about different aspects of child safety, like bicycle safety and stranger danger,” says Vikki Kaiser, President/CEO of GLCU in a release. “Parents can also have their children fingerprinted for free by the County Club Hills Police Department and receive a free ID kit provided by Liberty Mutual Insurance.”

The season is still young--ask your credit union how Halloween will be celebrated this year.

By Gina Ragusa
Published October 15, 2015
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