Is Viral Video Ticket to Gen Y?

A social media campaign sponsored by the Virginia Credit Union League to target Gen Y consumers has seen 375,000 complete views this spring, and only in the final seconds does it promote the credit union value proposition. Humor does the rest of the work.

Quit the Hit certainly is a hit on Facebook and You Tube as well as on its own companion social media site which raises awareness about credit union membership benefits. The “viral seeding” agency that helped develop the online placement strategy believes the video could achieve viral status—a million views—by the end of this month.

The message points were based on research showing consumers are weary after taking hit after hit in the economic downturn.

Had the creative staff taken its research literally, it might have produced a broadcast advertisement laden with message points about “the hit” consumers are taking in the economy, with lower cost credit union membership providing an alternative.

But that would not resonate with the 18-25 year-old consumers who credit unions are so anxious to build relationships with.

“They’re a tough customer,” said Maya Bordeau, Partner at Attune, a research and strategy firm admired for bringing science into the art of marketing. “It’s really hard to get through to them so you need to take a stand and you need to take some risks.”

Bordeau had a front row seat developing the Virginia League’s project and presented her case study at the second annual Marketers’ Conference sponsored by the Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA) in Portland Wednesday.

Bordeau called Gen Y consumers “micro niche” people and shared some insight to help marketers get to know them.

It may seem counter intuitive to traditional marketers to target a consumer group that has may be underemployed and may still live at home” but there are good reasons, Bordeau said. They are the largest generation currently and the largest “new parent” group. They set trends. Baby boomers, now called the “most valued generation” because of their financial assets, emulate Generation Y likes.

Branding target Gen Y must be authentic, Bordeau said. It will connect if it is sincere and “takes a stand. Entertainment and humor connect with the Gen Y generation.

So the Virginia League’s Quit the Hit advertisement features an obnoxious George Washington character (the first President was born in Virginia) who hurts consumers by dumping their groceries on the ground and sticking his fingers in the beer they just paid for. It is, simply, hilarious. At the end, consumers get the message about the credit union difference.

The campaign was “low budget” with $15,000 dedicated to production and under $200,000 going to distribution. The goal was to raise awareness with younger consumers and considering that 10,000 of them have “shared” the video, it does have traction.

 Bordeau’s presentation highlighted characteristics of Gen Y including:

  • An appreciation for unique and emotionally rewarding, authentic brands that take a stand.
  • A value for teamwork and collaboration.
  • Occupants of three-screen households. Seventy-five percent have moved money between accounts using online or Smartphone banking features, multiple times in the last six months.
  • More likely to buy based on what they believe in.
  • Likely to be rooted in their communities and to volunteer.

Applying creativity, a little bit of science and going online gives credit union more “bang for their buck” reaching a generation that albeit not yet wealthy, is very influential and on the way up.


Questions? Contact Lynn Heider: 503.350.2225,

Posted in Events, Marketing & Communications.