19 October 2009

Become an Ex

Just before tonight's Monday Night Football game, I saw an interesting ad. A woman was sitting at her office desk talking on the phone while simultaneously mixing an adult beverage. As she walks out with her freshly-mixed daiquiri, the narrator says "You don't drink every time you smoke... So why do you smoke every time you drink?"

The message is simple. Eliminate the triggers that create your urge to smoke, and you can kick the habit.

The campaign is a product of the American Legacy Foundation, a collaboration of organizations dedicated to helping people quit smoking. Its web presence (built with Ning) is simple, yet effective. There, you can learn about smoking triggers, nicotine addiction, and success stories from peers. You can network with others who are struggling just like you, set a quit date, and track the cigarettes you smoke (and what triggered them). The 3-Step process is: 1) Re-learn your habit; 2) Re-Learn your Addiction; and 3) Re-Learn Support.

I'm not a smoker, but this program really captures my attention. It's brilliant in its simplicity, and 100% applicable to what most of us are trying to do at our credit unions: improving human behavior.

Could we inspire people to "Become an Ex" bank customer? What are the trigger points that cause people to, despite excessive fees, distrust, and dissatisfaction, continue to flock to goliath banks? Is it inertia? A habit? Apathy?

Could we encourage people to "Become an Ex" spendaholic?

Could this be our national brand?


Mark said...

I also dig this campaign. They ran some commercial back in 2008 that I thought were top notch. (Here's one about learning how to eat without a cigarette: http://adland.tv/commercials/national-alliance-tobacco-cessation-become-ex-coffee-2008-30-usa) The new ones are just as good.

I think you're getting warmer towards the end about how it could be used by CUs. It's not about being an Ex bank customer, it's about being a smatter personal CFO.

That said, you can't just run around ripping off good PSAs....you'd end up with something like "got Credit Unions? Become an ex bank customer. Crack open a wonderful Credit Union. Happy Money comes from Happy Credit Unioners. Find out more at The Financial Truth." ;)

Matt, the Credit Union Warrior said...

@Mark We absolutely should NOT rip off a PSA. The message is what appeals to me, not the specific phrase.

Ron Shevlin said...

"Become an ex-spendaholic" the national CU brand?

I pray not. What a negative connotation.

I'd advocate for either "CUs: Fostering disciplined financial management" or "CUs: The only FIs with YOUR best interests at heart"

But I'm not a copywriter, so don't get on my case about the wording of those suggestions.

Matt, the Credit Union Warrior said...

@Ron Again, it's the message I'm looking at. Credit unions offer a hand up, sure...but we also do a very good job with financial education, trusted advice, and (arguably) reform. I realize many people who have problems with money management aren't willing to admit it, but for those who are I think we fit the bill nicely.

The Become an Ex campaign I mention in this post is a great example of how an organization can change bad behavior without telling people that they are bad. Credit unions can change bad behavior, reward good behavior, and develop community around that idea. "Become an Ex" as a specific phrase may not have legs, but the idea may. Sort of a "drop your old, broken way of doing things with greedy banks like a bad habit" message.

David Gerbino said...

Sounds like you are coming up with a really good Community Bank campaign. Throw in Community Banks pay taxes and you have a great campaign to go against the big money center banks and credit unions. LOL. In all seriousness Matt, you may be onto something.

Mikal said...

I think you are hitting a good core idea, Matt. My Credit Union is an old German house looking building in Milwaukee, WI.

Our CU is over shadowed by the towers of banks a few blocks down the road with marble floors and chandlers. There is a good audience that choose their financial institution based on the prestige of the lobby.

This economy has made people reexamine their priorities. However, I know our CU and others need to do more to educate the differences. I am interested in the idea of re-teaching how to walk into a Credit Union.