AUSTIN, Texas (8/5/10)--Have you been “schmanked” by a bank lately? According to an ad campaign by Velocity CU, Austin, Texas, “schmank” means: “Any irresponsible and/or devious action taken by a bank with the intention of fleecing its customers: My bank schmanked me with multiple fees for things that weren’t my fault
." The humorous ads on website www.bankschmank.com ask people several questions about banks:
* What frustrates you about banks? * What do you want to say to banks? * What word best describes banks? * Have you been schmanked?
“We’re not bashing big banks,” Carol Cain, senior vice president, marketing and business development for the $515 million-asset Velocity, told News Now
. “We were getting annoyed because banks were in the news for not making loans and because of all their problems. But there was nothing about credit unions and their solutions. So we created a way to educate people and differentiate credit unions from banks.” Velocity had used the headline “BankSchmank” on billboards since 2009, before it created the microsite www.bankschmank.com in April. “We wanted a dynamic format that easily changes,” Cain said about the decision to use the Internet. “Also, the website channel would appeal to a younger audience of adults ages 21 to 34, and that is what the website is geared to. We promoted it via our Facebook page, and also supported it with some traditional media such as billboards and a few small print ads in alternative newspapers, including The Onion
and The Austin Chronicle
.” The unscripted ads were made in-house with a flip-video camera and featured actual members, members to-be and people who were just upset with banks, Cain said. The credit union got some creative help with the design of its microsite, she added. The response so far has been great, Cain said, noting that the credit union has seen 4,500 unique visitors to its microsite, and a 13% click-through rate to the credit union website. “Anything above 10% is good,” Cain added. Perhaps most noteworthy is that Velocity has experienced a 3% increase in active checking accounts since the launch. “That is one goal for our tangible results,” Cain said. Incidentally, Cain said that when that credit union’s employees are out and about and say they’re with Velocity CU, people will respond, “Are you the BankSchmank?” To visit the Velocity microsite and view the ads, use the link.