Two credit unions are charging into this year's Super Bowl ad-buying spree.
BECU, a $13 billion institution in the Seattle suburb of Tukwila, Wash., and $8.8 billion The Golden 1 CU, Sacramento, Calif., will run television commercials during Sunday's Super Bowl featuring the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks.
With television audiences shrinking, DVRs skipping commercials, and video on demand and OTT services stealing eyeballs the Super Bowl remains one of the few national sporting events that can guarantee people will actually watch an ad spot.
And, explained Alan Brown, co-founder and CEO of DNA advertising agency in Seattle, because advertisers recognize the NFL's annual championship game is a showcase, they go to great lengths to entertain.
"Many people watch the Super Bowl for the ads, making this an unusual opportunity," Brown told Credit Union Journal. "Several major companies roll out new ad campaigns for the Super Bowl. The smart advertisers know how to create engaging content. And because this is such a highly viewed event they tend to show off their best work."
Both BECU and The Golden 1 will have 30-second commercials air during local breaks, which Brown said tend to be in the third quarter.
"It is a nice option to have for a local advertiser - to have such a wide audience," he said. "BECU will have a brand spot that spotlights BECU's history as a credit union. It shows Boeing workers needing tools, and it says a credit union is a better option for banking today."
The spot for Golden 1 is one of three that DNA recently produced. The commercial highlights the CU's free checking options will run Sunday. The other two, which will be seen later, cover credit cards and mortgages.
"Membership growth and lending are goals for Golden 1, which is why those subjects were chosen," offered Brown.
Golden 1 and BECU are two of the largest credit unions in the country, Brown noted, which makes them good fits for the biggest media event of the year. In Seattle, with the hometown Seahawks in the Super Bowl, industry estimates are for a 61 rating in the local market.
"Our estimates are it could be as high as 63 or 65 rating, given all the hype," said Brown. "Compare that to a typical Prime Time show that could get a 3.5 or a 4 rating, and this is really off the charts for impact."
To be sure, credit unions have long developed partnerships, sponsorships and advertising around sports teams and sporting events.
From San Diego County CU's decade-long sponsorship of the college football Poinsettia Bowl, to Navy FCU's aggressive ad buys on "Monday Night Football" broadcasts, CUs have slowly been ramping up their sports advertising exposure.
While a number of credit unions have done local media buys during big sporting events, including previous Super Bowls, only the nation's largest credit union has gone so far as to launch a national ad campaign tied to the NFL.
Navy Fed's first foray into "Monday Night Football" started in 2012. At that time, a Navy Fed spokesperson told Credit Union Journal it went with NFL football for its first big national ad campaign after taking a good look at the demographics, and what the $64 billion institution found: a target audience that is younger, active duty military members, "what they like is sports," the Vienna, Va.-based CU said.
In Sacramento with no home team playing the rating is expected to be in the range of 36 to 40, which Brown said still is significantly greater than most TV shows.