Print Advertising, Cooperative Style

Four credit unions join their advertising efforts together in a Washington, DC, commuter newspaper.


Cooperative (adj.) marked by a willingness and ability to work with others.

Advertising (n.) the action of calling something to the attention of the public especially by paid announcements.

Why not put the two concepts together? That is exactly what the Washington, D.C.,-based Express newspaper did. 

The other day, as I began my daily Metro commute to Callahan near the White House, I picked up the latest copy of the Express, a free newspaper available Monday through Friday put out by The Washington Post for Metro riders. The newspaper touts itself as “an inviting, entertaining and informative quick read.” And informative it is.

As I read last Monday’s paper, I found an interesting spread that caught my eye: “A Credit Union For Everyone.”

At first I thought this advertisement was an article because of how it was laid out. All four pages featured credit unions (Lafayette Federal, Pentagon Federal, SignalFinancial Federal, CommonWealth One Federal) with their own individual ad spots where they ran traditional advertisements. The rest of the spread included information on what a credit union is and how to locate a credit union in the D.C. metro area. It was a cohesive package on the industry that blended advertising and information.

Oftentimes, I feel the general public does not understand what a credit union is and how it differs from their bank down the street. To educate readers, the Express added a section called “Credit Union FAQ” at the end of the advertisement spread. These are the questions they answered:

  • What is a credit union?
  • Why should I join?
  • What does it cost?
  • How do I access my money?
  • How do I join?
  • Is my money safe?

They then provided a link to for additional information. This was a quick way to give readers an overview on what a credit union is without overwhelming them with a long article.

A map of the Metro system and listings for where the featured credit union branches was also included. This way, readers could see which credit union options would be best for them based on the locations of their homes and offices. The map is a great to visualize the areas these credit unions serve. If you were riding on the Metro and reading this, you’d connect with the advertisement.

Lafayette Federal Credit Union ($342M, MD) was the Spotlight Credit Union in this issue and received advertising space to share a brief company overview.

After contacting theExpress and several of the included credit unions, I discovered this spread was actually spearheaded by the paper itself. I was happy to find out that a local newspaper developed an idea to highlight the importance of credit unions in today’s financial environment. And featured credit unions are finding increase success with the ads as well. What a great, win-win tribute to the cooperative system!

In other areas, perhaps credit unions could band together for similar group-advertising – not just with one ad, but a spread of ads under the singular credit union theme. Do you advertise in your local newspaper? Pass the idea on to them!


Aug. 29, 2012


  • I would like to add another observation to this "I was happy to find out that a local newspaper developed an idea to highlight the importance of credit unions in today’s financial environment." It impressed me that the spirit of cooperatives is evidenced by the way 4 credit unions were included, side-by-side, without embellishing, without pointing out differences, without the competitiveness of so many businesses today. How much more productive and successful we would be if we served to the strengths of each other instead of competing to the demise of one so the other could succeed.