N.M., Maine leagues launch Gen Y spokester searches

CUNA News Now

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., and PORTLAND, Maine (4/4/11)--Two state credit union associations--the Credit Union Association of New Mexico (CUANM) and the Maine Credit Union League--have launched searches for a Generation Y "spokester" to help credit unions engage Gen Yers ages 18-25 in their states to get on track for a lifetime of financial well-being.

Both states are launching the Young & Free program, developed by Currency Marketing of Canada, with credit union professionals participating in filming a video--the first step in the "American Idol" style search for a spokester who will use social media, special events, meet-ups and other "off-script" methods to reach out to Gen Yers and who will "create a buzz," said Sylvia Lyon, CEO of CUANM.

Lyon and other credit union professionals recently met in New Mexico to film a video for the state's program, which is sponsored by 17 New Mexico credit unions. (Use the link to view the video.)

Credit unions, with the average membership age in the late 40s, had to do something to stay relevant and to gain a new, young base of members," Lyon said. The program starts with a search for a media and social media-savvy young adult who will engage peers in credit unions, which will work to understand and serve Gen Yers in age-appropriate ways such as free checking accounts, online and mobile services, overdraft forgiveness and other benefits, said Lyon.

In Augusta, Maine, credit union CEOs gathered March 24 to film a call for entries video for their Young & Free spokesperson search. On hand to educate the group about the campaign and to film the video and coordinate the "talent," was Currency Marketing.

"The fact that so many of [credit union executives] are taking the time to communicate with this generation through this video is a testament to the commitment of Maine credit unions to reaching this demographic," said John Murphy, president of the Maine Credit Union League (Weekly Update April 1). The commercial--and its bloopers reel--will go live April 18 on YoungFreeMaine.com.

Both leagues will select three applicants as finalists to be voted on. In New Mexico, the winning spokester will receive an Apple MacBook Pro and high-def video camera, a one year contact, a smart phone and a salary and use of a vehicle for a year. New Mexico's spokester will be announced June 10.

Maine's YoungFreeMaine.com website will be the hub of its search, with applicants submitting video entries. The league also is using Facebook, online and radio advertising, and college campus promotions to spread the word from April 18 to May 16. Voting on the three Maine finalists will begin at the league's Annual Meeting & Convention on May 20 and conclude on June 6, with the winner announced June 13.

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