How VACU Struck Video Gold With A Guy In Flannel

The “Guy in Flannel” series is the latest in a creative venture into market engagement and financial literacy for Virginia Credit Union.

Top-Level Takeaways

  • Quippy videos with a financial education bent are attracting attention to Virginia Credit Union.
  • VACU employs a full-time staffer to produce the videos and many of them feature in-house talent.

For the past two years, Virginia Credit Union($3.5B, Richmond VA), has been spreading the message of financial literacy through a series of short videos that have becomea linchpin of the credit unions member and community engagement strategy.

The videos have launched a new career for writer/producer Danny Swanson, who has added internal training to his job description, and given other VACU staffers a chance to show off their acting chops.

Here, Jamie Lumpkin, marketing operations and strategy director at VACU, talks about the credit unions adventures in video.

Jamie Lumpkin, Marketing Operations & Strategy Director, Virginia Credit Union

What opportunity was Virginia Credit Union looking for in these videos?

Jamie Lumpkin: We were looking to engage more with our members through social channels. We were early adopters in social and have done a lot of contests and things over the years. The videos are a way to expand beyond that. They also are a way to partner with community businesses.

What challenges do these videos address?

JL: The videos take financial education out of the classroom and make it more approachable. Financial education is a core mission for Virginia Credit Union, but we can’t be at every event in the community or get every member tocome to one of our seminars. These videos are fun, brief ways to reach out to different audiences.

Who conceptualizes the videos, writes the scripts, and produces them?

JL:Danny Swanson, our senior multimedia content producer, does all that and more for us. And he gets input from our financial education and marketingteams.

How did you discover you had the talent on staff to make such videos?

JL: Danny joined us as a summer teller in 2007 when he was a student at Virginia Commonwealth University. He joined the contact center in 2010 and began producing team events and training videos for the contact center. That attractedour attention.

His manager let us borrow him from time to time until we could develop a full-time role for media production. We stole Danny in 2012. He’s now responsible for internal- and external-facing videos some for employees, some for members, somefor the whole community. He also develops interactive educational modules and manages our in-branch TV system.


How long has VACU produced these videos? How often do you release a new one?

JL: We began in 2016 with Fun Financial Facts Sipping Fancy Drink sand tied that into a drink served at a local establishment. In 2017, we moved into Fun Financial Facts Sampling Fancy Food and then into the Guy in Flannel series we have going now. We try to do a couple a month.

Who is the guy in flannel?

JL: Thats Will Osborne, our marketing product manager. He has a background in advertising and marketing and is quite the sport. He lets us dress himup in flannel shirts and suits and put him in awkward situations, out in public filming, always with a straight face. He has a nice comedic touch and helps us put a human face on financial education.

How do you decide which topics and subjects to tackle and at which locations to film?

JL: Danny typically develops topics with input from our financial education team. He then looks at quirky ways to tie back into that special drink or food item.

We’ve learned to engage upfront with businesses we think might like to work with us. We might notice they have large social followings or are new and trendy. We get better results when they donate gift cards, let us film there, and promote the videos,too, that sort of collaboration. It’s been an interesting journey in that regard. We have businesses come to us now sometimes. For example, a hair salon really wanted us to come out. It was a lot of fun.

Watch them all. Visit VACUs YouTube channel to watch financial education spots,product and service promotions, community service videos, the Guy in Flannel series, and more.

Where does Danny get the cast for his videos?

JL: A lot of times they’re from VACU. We’re fortunate to have a strangely talented group of people here. We cast a commercial recently that was all employees and our ad agency said it was insane that our people were as good as paid talent.

Danny can get people to do things they normally would never do in a workplace. He can get them to dance in accounting and on the executive team. He has great people skills and makes them feel comfortable.

How do the videos fit into VACU’s multimedia strategy, public relations strategy, and overall marketing, advertising, and branding strategy?

JL: We tie videos and other multimedia efforts into our financial education objectives and our integrated marketing, advertising, and marketing strategies. We use them to promote financial education and literacy and drive awareness andcommunity engagement with Virginia Credit Union.

How does VACU distribute and promote the videos?

JL: We use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. Sometimes we include an opportunity to win a gift card at a featured restaurant, and the restaurant helps us push out the video and promote what we’re doing.

How do you measure the impact of these videos?

JL: That’s a tough question. We’ve seen clicks, likes, and shares grow through the years, so that’s something tangible. But the videos are also about a larger awareness around financial education and VACU. That’stough to measure.

Thirty-nine percent of VACU’s new members in 2017 were younger than 30, but our average member age is still 45. I guess that average age would be older without doing these things, but again, that’s hard to say. That’s everyone’schallenge.

So, what’s next?

JL:Danny’s taking a break right now from actively making the videos, but he’s planning his next move.


April 9, 2018

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