Lipstick on Pigs and Other Ideas…

Last week, we posted a call to arms: How can NCUA be more effective in their messaging to the American Public?


Last week, we posted a call to arms: How can NCUA be more effective in their messaging to the American Public?  Many of you commented and some have even entered our contest! Four of the entries are below and we’ll be soliciting votes in just a few weeks when everyone has had a chance to enter.

Submitted by Chuck Van Court, Founder and CEO Fuze Digital Solutions

Submitted by Elliott Kashner, CYouth, Callahan & Associates

Submitted by Debra Caballero, Marketing/Business Development Director, Chemcel Federal Credit Union

Submitted by Jeremy Trull, Marketing/Communications Specialist, Idahy Credit Union

Remember, we’re running this contest for the next two weeks looking for better alternatives to this Uncle Sam ad. Entrants can provide everything from ideas scratched on napkins to fully developed ads. A panel of judges from industry CUSOs and credit unions will select the Critic’s Award Grand Prize Winner. In democratic fashion, we will also post entries for our readers to vote on a Reader’s Choice Award.

Critic’s Award Grand Prize Winner: $250
Reader’s Choice Grand Prize Winner: $250
Runner-up: $100

Send your entries to by November 19th. All entries are property of Callahan & Associates and may be used in an upcoming edition of Credit Union Strategy & Performance to illustrate the ways that credit unions are making their voices heard in the market place.




Nov. 10, 2008


  • Lately I (and my colleagues) have been going about, starting up random conversations with random people on the streets about their understanding of how a credit union works. There is a great deal of confusion, to say the least. Credit unions need to realize that "we're about the member/customer" is a very, very popular message, and credit unions need to lead with a more nuanced message. To me, that message is the unique structure. So, the message is "We're about the member, because they are our investors, our owners, our everything." That's a message that only credit unions can lead with in this market.
  • If not already implied by Alex’s response to a comment on the previous article, it seems like the credit union movement would best be served by going outside the lines and not being restricted by the NCUA.
    Chuck Van Court
  • If this hypothetical ad is from the NCUA — a governmental agency — then shouldn't it need to deal exclusively with share insurance... and nothing else? After years of bickering about a credit union brand/awareness campaign, I can't imagine it would be NCUA leading the charge with "the credit union story." CUNA maybe, but not the NCUA. The contest here is a good one, and the question is the right one to be asking: "How can NCUA better tell its story?" But the story is only one about share insurance, right? Seeing that the NCUA is the FDIC's little brother, it's unlikely that the NCUA would ever run an ad mentioning banks, or, for that matter, even using the words "bank" or "banking" anywhere in it.
    Jeffry Pilcher (
  • How come credit union staff are not openly engaging in discussing this critical issue here? What is it: apathy, indifference, or just too busy? Is there really no fundamental difference between credit unions and banks that is worth branding in a national campaign? Do most consumers already understand what CAN (not always does) make credit unions different than banks? I have heard far too many times from “leadership” in the credit union industry that it is impossible to get enough broad support to create a national brand campaign. Is that really true? Please understand that my views expressed here are personal as a proud family and business member of First Tech credit union and should not be attributed as representing Fuze Digital Solutions in any way
    Chuck Van Court
  • It appears Chuck and I are on the same page here. There's been talk of "Do credit unions need a new brand?" I've always wondered what's wrong with the credit union brand now. I'm sure Jeffry could elaborate a little more here, his site is fantastic. To me, the question is not with content but with visibility. People (not to generalize, but I will anyway) are VERY attracted to the credit union model... once they know what it is.
  • I like it Elliot! I have done the same type of sampling and with rare exception consumers do not understand what the fundamental business model differences are between banks and credit unions, let alone how they clearly can impact underlying staff motivations and ultimately consumer financial well-being. It is ineffective, inefficient and just plane stupid that each credit union has to spend time or money to define what the "credit union" brand invokes in the mind of consumers. Credit unions should only be left to focus on marketing that differentiates their credit union.
    Chuck Van Court