SAN DIEGO (8/23/11)--San Diego County CU is using what one branding expert terms a “stealth comparative” ad campaign against big banks’ higher fees by subtly turning a tag line of giant bank JPMorgan Chase & Co. against the bank. The $4.97 billion asset credit union is using more than 80 billboards along San Diego-area freeways asking the question, “Chased by HIGH FEES?” (North County Times Aug. 21). The credit union’s billboard campaign is a response to a Chase Bank advertising campaign launched in early 2008 that changed the noun of Chase Bank to a verb, when it unveiled its brand campaign “Chase What Matters,” Liz Goodgold, a San Diego-based branding expert, told the newspaper. Goodgold dubs the credit union’s campaign “brilliant,” because it refers to Chase without using the bank’s formal name and without making a side-by-side comparison, such as with a taste test. That makes the ad feel like an inside joke to viewers, she told the paper. The billboards are designed to encourage consumers to look for better banking opportunities because they are frustrated with banks, Teresa Halleck, president/CEO San Diego County CU, told the paper. The ad refers to big banks in general and not Chase in particular, she added. San Diego County CU has 28 branches in the region. Halleck told the paper she isn’t sure if the credit union needs to add any more--because members can only use a certain number of branches. And when a big bank, such as Chase, keeps adding branches, consumers are the ones who end up paying for them, she added. Chase plans to add 100 branches in California--12 of them in San Diego County, the article said. To read the article, use the link.