Showing Respect: Purdue Fed Delays Promo of New Ad

We all paused a moment and considered the contributions astronaut Neil Armstrong made in his lifetime. This American hero passed away last Saturday at the age of 82. For Purdue Federal Credit Union, though, it made the respectful decision to pause for longer than a moment.

Ads Pulled

Eugene Cernan, who was also part of that famous first walk on the moon was recently announced as the new face of the Purdue Alumni VISA card offered by Purdue Federal Credit Union. The announcement came days before Armstrong’s death and the credit union said the decision was made out of respect for the family. Purdue Federal Credit Union president and CEO Bob Falk said the company pulled the first advertisements announcing that the last man on the moon will be its new spokesman.

We pulled ads at the first football game,

Falk said.

It’s unfortunate and ironic timing. We’re not trying to jump on the bandwagon. But Neil would not say to stop the process.

The release of both television and radio ads were pushed back until September 8th, said a credit union spokesperson.

The new Visa credit card design features a picture of Cernan walking on the moon and is expected to attract thousands of carriers. It will be available at any branch beginning September 1 and offers no annual fees and an impressive rewards program, said Darlene Beers, the credit union’s marketing manager. The advertisements will coincide with the second Purdue football game of the season. “This is celebrating the academic side of Purdue, which more of us can relate to,” Beers said.

A launch part was hosted this week by the credit union, in partnership with the Purdue Alumni Association. The new television commercials were screened that feature Cernan paying for a cup of coffee with the card in West Lafayette’s Triple XXX Family Restaurant.

We want to make sure it’s a celebration of Neil as much as it is of Gene,

Falk said.

Cernan’s endorsement replaces that of Purdue alumnus and NFL quarterback Drew Brees, who had a three-year contract with the credit union. “When you have a spokesperson like Drew and you know that the contract’s coming to an end, that’s a tough act to follow,” Falk said.

I told Drew the next spokesman had to walk on water. Then I said we found someone who’s walked on the moon.

Final Review

It took the credit union and its partner the Purdue Alumni Association months to plan the card and get final approval from Visa. It’s an exciting campaign and especially important that the choice highlights Purdue’s academic success. Kirk Cerny, Purdue Alumni Association president and CEO, said celebrating academics was “central to the discussion” of choosing the next spokesperson and that the organization was pleased with the outcome. It’s little wonder that’s there’s such honor in the new campaign and the acceptance of the offer to Cernan. “I get goosebumps just thinking about it,” Cerny said. “It’s a huge point of pride.”

Up until now, the card has been issued as a “limited release”, but the official campaign opens it up to credit union members. Not only that, but Cernan also has a three-year contract with the company. If Brees was tough replace, imagine finding a greater representation than Cernan. Falk said choosing a spokesperson is about aligning the brand with someone who has proven his or her character.

Apparently, there are plenty of folks who’d be proud to take the reins. “Almost every high-profile athlete approaches us,” Falk said.

When you put someone with your brand, you have to make sure that person lives up to the brand. Gene was a no-brainer. Some companies have lined up with people who have really hurt their brand.

He also said the next spokesperson could highlight another aspect of Purdue’s success. “We’ll see where it goes,” Falk said. “Maybe we’ll do another that’s focused on academics.”

About Purdue

Purdue Federal Credit Union was founded in 1969 on the Purdue University campus by Purdue employees searching for a place where they, their families and their fellow employees could save and borrow money safely, confidentially and at a fair rate of interest. In 2010, Purdue Federal acquired Members United Federal Credit Union through a merger and changed its name to Purdue Federal. Purdue Federal is a member-owned financial cooperative with more than 60,000 members nationwide and assets exceeding $700 million.

It has seven full-service branches, two high-school branches and online and mobile banking services. It offers its members financial products such as locally serviced mortgage and consumer loan products – first mortgages, home equity loans, vehicle loans, credit cards, secured loans and more – savings and money market accounts, checking accounts with direct deposit, individual retirement accounts and business accounts. It also provides online services – online bill pay and check withdrawals, electronic statements and alerts, online check deposits with immediate access to funds and more.

Purdue Federal has earned the honor as Best Financial Institution, Best Checking Account and Best Mortgage Lender in Lafayette-West Lafayette as voted by Journal & Courier readers three years in a row.

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