Credit Unions of Washington (CUOW) has rolled out an internet campaign called Change Is Beautiful. I’ve been following it for a few weeks now, and I still don’t really know what to think. At first glance, I honestly thought it was one of the oddest things I’ve ever seen. It’s a series of videos – seven so far – featuring none other than Carl Weathers. Yes, that’s right; Apollo Creed from the Rocky movies. For those of you who are more shameless in your movie tastes (like me), you may also remember him as “Action” Jackson, Dillon from the film Predator, and Chubbs, the one-handed golf pro in Happy Gilmore. I would mention 1992’s Hurricane Smith, but that’s far too embarrassing.
The premise of the videos is this: Weathers rides around western Washington on a bicycle with a basketful of flowers (no kidding), interrupting random folks in their everyday lives to empower them by waxing poetically on the virtues of change. “To me, a smile is the sunrise of the gesture universe. A smile is a positive force in the universe about to begin anew. A smile creates change.” Hmmm…not quite the Master of Disaster screaming “There is no tomorrow! There is no tomorrow!” while Rocky slumps in the corner of the gym. What a difference a quarter-century makes, huh?
It’s easy to see that the campaign is purposefully bizarre, and even more purposefully vague. The term “credit union” is never actually mentioned in any of the spots. What’s less clear is why CUOW went with this particular idea. Where’s the call to action? Shouldn’t a character as traditionally imposing as Carl Weathers be demanding that you join your local credit union? Hey, wait…I got it! We should get Mr. T! Now, there’s someone who will tell you what’s what. “Don’t give these bankers no golden parachutes…give ‘em GUTS! Wake up, Fool! Join a credit union! Join Verity!”
Now, that’s a campaign I could get behind.
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