Not since three cows learned to mizspel and engaged the public in a campaign to “Eat Mor Chikin” has a farm animal garnered so much marketing interest. In case you’ve missed the articles over the past couple of weeks in The Financial Brand, the Credit Union Times, and the Las Vegas Review-Journal, earlier this month, One Nevada Credit Union launched a sizzling marketing campaign for its checking services. Starting August 1, the credit union splashed larger-than-life images of bacon on digital billboards. The lack of explanation promoted locals to question: Was it a trendy new restaurant that served gourmet bacon dishes, a la Medium Rare in Washington, DC? Then the bacon appeared with odd companions, such as a shark or mustache. That caught the attention of Sin City hipsters. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, only when One Nevada added the hashtag #baconcu was it clear that this was, in fact, a deliciously deviant marketing campaign.
So how did the $696.9 million credit union make the leap from financial services to swine? And what makes this so buzz-worthy? Because the campaign is promoting Bad Ass Checking from One Nevada. And that little three-letter word, which is prominently and repeatedly featured in the commercial spots, is causing a major stir among Las Vegas locals as well as national marketing outlets. Some find it a refreshing step outside of the tiresome laundry list of perks — such as rewards, PFM tools, and remote deposit capture — that typically accompany vanilla banking services commercials. Others find the flippant use of bad ass a bit crass. And PETA has yet to take a stance.
The clever acronym is a bit of a stretch, which begs the question: Which came first, the moniker or the marketing? And will it pay off in the end? The numbers say it just might. According to midyear data currently available through the Search & Analyze tool on CreditUnions.com, the credit union has some loyal members. Although it lags behind its state and asset-based peers in metrics such as 12-month member, share, and loan growth and average share and loan balance, it far exceeds those peers in average member relationship and share draft penetration. As of June 2013, One Nevada posted an average member relationship of $12,564 versus $4,663 for Nevada credit unions and $6,710 for credit unions with $500 million to $1 billion in assets. Its share draft penetration — which is a predominant indicator of whether members are using the credit union as their primary financial institution — was 71.03% versus 61.77% for the state’s credit unions and 55.66% for similarly sized credit unions.
Only time and third quarter performance data will tell if One Nevada checking is as bad as it claims or if this campaign is just a pig in the poke.
For a chance at $250, members can take pictures of themselves as One Nevada bacon and tweet the spanshot @ OneNevada with #baconcu or email it and "like" the Facebook page.
Editor's Note: For all you bacon lovers out there that want more bacon, less bad ass checking, take some time tomorrow to dress up and celebrate International Bacon Day.