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CUs 1.99gal. gas promo draws 2-3 mile line
WORCESTER, Mass. (7/24/08)--Digital FCU (DCU) ran a promotion with a Worcester, Mass., gas station offering $1.99 per gallon gasoline Tuesday that resulted in hundreds of people showing up in their cars, causing lines stretching for miles.
Digital FCU team member Janice Hannigan (left) assists one of the 800 patrons who took advantage of the credit union's $1.99 per gallon gas promotion held at a Gulf station in Worcester, Mass., Tuesday. (Photo provided by Digital FCU)
The $3.9 billion asset, Marlborough, Mass.-based credit union was looking at various advertising opportunities when it decided that helping consumers with high gas prices would be the best way to thank area members for their business and also make a big publicity impact for the credit union. “Every media entity that we pitched this to picked it up,” John LaHair, DCU public relations manager, told News Now. “We really hit one out of the ball park this time.” Seven local TV stations and one national affiliate (CBS news) picked up the story. Also two area newspapers, two local radio stations and a couple of online news services had covered the story as of press time. About 800 vehicles showed up at the gas station for the promotion. At one time, the line was about two to three miles long, LaHair said. The regular price of a gallon of gas was going at $3.97 per gallon. The promotion began at 7 a.m.--with cars starting to lineup at 5 a.m.--and gas was pumped until 1:45 p.m. Overall, 7,429 gallons of gas were sold at the discounted price. DCU paid the Gulf station more than $14,000 to make up the balance. The promotion was two-fold: to thank the Worcester community for embracing DCU’s two branches, and to try something different, LaHair said. “From the credit union perspective, it’s the philosophy of us putting our members first,” he said. “When the opportunity presented itself, we realized we could have a one-on-one connection with members, non-members and potential members. It was a captive audience. When people wait one to two hours in line for gas, we can tell the DCU story and be able to show we understand what people are going through. “It’s an opportunity to educate once you get their attention. So we can talk about the products and services we offer and make a difference in people’s lives. We will look at similar strategies in other communities, because this time everything came together--the people, the media and the credit union itself,” LaHair added.
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