11/11/11 Promotion at Notre Dame Federal Credit Union


Today is a big day for number nerds (note 1), as 11/11/11 makes its once-per-century appearance. So last night, I started looking for banks or credit unions using the date for a price promotion (note 2). With U.S. interest rates hovering around the 1% mark, I figured it would be pretty easy to find financial institutions offering CD specials at 1.11% APY, hopefully the 11-month variety.

But after googling for at least an hour, I came up empty. I found a few 1.11% APYs for longer-term CDs, but no one that was promoting it as a Nov 11 special. I was about to give up, but tried “1.11% discount” and up popped Notre Dame Federal Credit Union going all in on the 11/11/11 theme. 

The home page (below) features a huge ad for its 1.11% APR holiday loan of exactly $1,111. And can you guess the term of the loan? Yep, 111 days! Thank you NDFCU marketing dept, you rock.

image Fine print: There is one small catch. To get the loan, members must apply for and be approved for the credit union’s Visa Platinum card (presumably you can still get the holiday loan if you already have the CU’s card). So it’s really a credit card promotion in disguise, but that seems fair. It’s a good price, and allows for a little expansion of the holiday budget, but with the discipline of a loan that must be repaid before April tax time (note 3).   

The offer is good through the end of November. And the loan application can be made online.


Notre Dame FCU hits all 1’s on its homepage (11 Nov 2011)

Notre Dame FCU hits all 1's on its homepage (11 Nov 2011)

1.11% loan landing page (link)

1.11% loan landing page NDFCU

1. I’ve been one for a long time. When I got my first calculator, I pressed “+1” on it 111,111 times just to fill the screen with 1s, the hard way.  
image2. Most U.S. financial institutions are closed today for Veterans Day, making it less likely to have a special one-day promotion. 
3.  Members also have the options of rolling the balance onto their NDFCU credit card at the end of the term.
4. Digital clock image from UK’s Daily Telegraph which had a 9-hour head start on the day.
5. Other 11/11/11 news:
NY Times looks at 11/11/11 promotions
– DealerTrack marked the day with a press release about hitting the 1,111 lender milestone.
– The only promotional email I received using the day was from Starwood hotels (see inset)

Capital One Driving Mobile Use with Sweepstakes

imageBoosting mobile engagement has a promising ROI. Among other benefits, the potential $6+ saved per displaced call center inquiry can have a meaningful impact on the bottom line (note 1).

And while volumes are growing, Capital One says mobile usage is up 5-fold compared to last year, it’s still a lightly used channel compared to phone (voice) and online.

Yet, for a card issuer, mobile is THE most important channel for the NFC/Square/GoogleWallet future.

So it makes a ton of sense to pull out the stops now to get customers using the bank’s mobile app. Capital One in particular, as one of the last majors to get into the app store, likely has an awareness problem with mobile cardholders. Even if the CapOne native app was downloaded, it’s buried so deep on the iPhone’s screens, that users forget about it. In my case, it’s on screen number eight and I rarely see it even though I use my card almost every day.

To attract more mobile uptake, the card giant launched a usage sweeps today. Between now and Jan 6, each cardholder will get one sweepstakes entry every day they log in to the mobile app or mobile web (SMS activity does not appear to count). One person will win a 16GB Wifi iPad2 each day. And a grand prize of a Chevy Volt will be awarded at the end (full rules). The total prize package is $80,000, less than the cost of one 30-second spot on an about-to-be-cancelled sitcom. 

The sweeps is being promoted with a small homepage link and a prominent mention on the main mobile banking page (see second screenshot below).


Capital One mobile sweeps landing page (link, 9 Nov 2011)
Note: The call to action, text “power” to 80101, was not working in my test. 
Update 10 Nov: Fixed 



Main mobile banking page (link)

Main mobile banking page Capital One

1. Of course, you also have to put in place a mobile channel strategy that actually does displace call-center inquiries. That’s easier said than done. Also, financial institutions paying mobile vendors for each active user, may not want to boost mobile usage in this way. 
2. Despite the name of our subscription newsletter, Online Banking Report, we cover mobile issues almost every month. 

Capital One Pays to Play in Zynga’s Virtual Worlds

imageLike most, I’ve been amazed at how fast Zynga was able to build a 250+ million user base for its social games. But I’d never actually played one.

Until now. So make that 250 million and one users, because I couldn’t resist checking up on Capital One’s new product placement in three Zynga games (more on what players could do). The bank’s Facebook page, which has grown to 2.3 million likes, has details on the promotions (screenshot 1).

image Although, it appears I may have missed my chance to interact with the CapOne goat, Visigoth statute or a virtual branch (the promo only ran one week), there are still credit card ads and mystery gifts available, at least in Farmville, the only game I tested.

Capital One viral gift & banner ads
Capital One may have ended the in-game elements for now, but they still have a presence in the game. Starting Farmville for the first time, I was greeted by a number of social elements, one of which is sending a Capital One gift (screenshot 2). There is no indication of what the gift actually is. Maybe that’s part of the fun, but it seems like a weakness to me. Am I sending someone a virtual goat or a solicitation for a CapOne card (mystery solved)? 

The company is also running banner ads within the game (screenshots 5 & 6). Clicking on them takes users to the usual Capital One pre-approval page within a separate browser window (screenshot 7). Once you land on the CapOne site there is no mention of Farmville.

Discover Card & Citibank bonus offers
Game players are encouraged to buy all kinds of virtual goods. They can earn virtual currency in a number of ways, including using real world cash to buy credits. But users can also earn currency by participating in sponsored activities.

Both Citi and Discover are offering users virtual cash to apply, and be approved, for a credit card. Discover is offering virtual currency worth about $75 and Citi is handing out about $50.

My take: With 250 million users, the large brands owe it to their shareholders to see if they can make hay in Farmville and any other popular virtual world. And I suspect there will be a positive ROI for the right mix of promotion/offer. I have no idea what the magic formula is, but you know the direct marketing wizards at CapOne, Citi and the others will figure it out sooner rather than later (note 1).


1. Capital One Facebook page (27 Sep 2011)

1. Capital One Facebook page

2. Capital One "free gift" in Farmville (27 Sep 2011)

Capital One "free gift" in Farmville (27 Sep 2011)

3. Choose friends you want to receive the gift

2. Choose friends you want to send the gift to

4. Before you send the gift, you have the opportunity to see what the notice looks like to the recipient, and you can add a personal note

3. Before you send the gift, you have the opportunity to see what the notice looks like to the recipient, and you can add a personal note

5. When I got back to the game, there was a large Capital One banner
Note: Starbucks promotion in lower right

4. When I got back to the game, there was a large Capital One banner

6. Another Capital One banner ad served while playing Farmville
Note: Bank of Internet ad on right

5. Another Capital One banner ad served while playing Farmville

7. The banner ad in Farmville, led to Capital One’s usual pre-qualification form

6. The banner ad in Farmville, led to Capital One's usual pre-qualification form

8. Discover Card and Citibank have powerful offers in the "earn cash" area.
Note: Discover offers 475 Farm Cash (worth about $75) for card approval, Citibank 300 (about $50). 


9. The first screen after choosing Discover’s offer

7. Discover Card and Citibank have more powerful offers, though it's buried in the "earn cash" area. Discover offers 475 Farm Cash (worth about $75) for card approval, Citibank 300 (about $50).

10. Clicking Continue above leads to standard Discover Card app (in new browser window)

8. Clicking Continue above leads to standard Discover Card app (in new browser window)


Note: If you are interested in a fictional look at where the commercialization of Internet gaming is headed, I highly recommend Cory Doctorow’s For the Win.

Launching: ING Direct Unveils $10 Million Campaign for Teen Banking

image Just last month we published a report (here) about the large, and mostly unmet, opportunity to bank tweens/teens AND their parents.

Evidently ING Direct didn’t need our report. The direct bank, soon to be part of Capital One, is launching an aggressive $10 million advertising campaign for its new MONEY account (note 1). There’s no official mention of the program at ING Direct, except for a wall post on its main Facebook page (see last screenshot).

However, several online elements have been released:

Product: There’s only a few sentences describing the product, but it sounds like a standard checking account with debit card access. It will have no fees and no minimums and can be managed online (duh) and through a smartphone app.

Campaign: The $10 million campaign (note 2) is primarily fulfilled via Facebook (see screenshots below) and includes:

  • Advertising on Facebook and online
  • Supporting sweeps has (10) $1,000 prizes, (10) MacBooks, (20) iPod Touches
  • Those submitting pictures of themselves, may get it projected on a Times Square Jumbotron for 15 seconds (begins Sept. 15)

Our take: With 1% rates killing its traditional value proposition, it makes perfect sense for ING Direct to build for the future by positioning itself as a place that caters to the banking needs of the entire family. Well played.


1. ING Direct’s teen-banking microsite at ingdirectmoney.com (30 Aug. 2011)
Note: In the lower right is a “pre-registration form” where the bank collects the name and email address of interested parties

ING Direct teen banking microsite at ingdirectmoney.com (29 Aug 2011)

2. Parents are encouraged to send a message to their children to let them know about the sweeps
Note: The lower right contains a place for parents to send email messages to their children

2. Parents are encouraged to send a message to their children to let them know about the sweeps

3. Facebook page at <facebook.com/ThatsMoney>

3. Facebook page at <facebook.com/ThatsMoney>

3. Facebook page info page (Facebook app)

3. Facebook page info page

4. Facebook page sign-up form

4. Facebook page signup form for ING Direct Money

5. Thank-you page after pre-registering


6. Wall post this afternoon on main ING Direct Facebook page (link, 30 Aug. 2011)

6. Wall post this afternoon on main ING Direct Facebook page (29 Aug 2011)


1. New agency Berlin Cameron is spearheading the effort according to today’s Adweek article.
2. That’s about 40% of ING Direct’s projected $25 million media spend for 2011.
3. Hat tip: MyBankTracker
4. For more on teen banking, see our recent Online Banking Report.

Citibank Running Front-page WSJ Facebook Campaign

imageCitibank is using some of the most expensive real estate on the planet, the front page of the Wall Street Journal, to promote its Facebook page (see inset and below). The bottom-of-the-page banner invites readers to Like Citibank on Facebook to “find amazing ways to use your (ThankYou) points,” and directs them to Citi’s main Facebook page, facebook.com/citibank.

Visitors are shown a special page promising exclusive access to an upcoming Beyonce concert for Citibank ThankYou customers (see first screenshot). After, clicking the Like button, a new screen appears with a “coming soon” message (second screenshot).

As of 11:30 Eastern this morning, Citi had 34,500 likes, by midnight the total had grown by about 2,000 to 36,500. I don’t know where they started the day, but according Visible Banking, the Citi Facebook page debuted in mid-November 2010 with 7,000 likes, mostly from employees. 

Bottom line: I like the idea of creating exclusive benefits for Facebook fans. And perhaps Citi’s goal is to make this into a “teaser” campaign. But overall, I was disappointed not to receive any immediate info to reward me for taking the time to visit/like the bank’s Facebook site.


Citibank banner ad, bottom of first page of WSJ (Western edition, 16 Aug. 2011)

Citibank banner ad on bottom of first page of WSJ  

Citibank’s Facebook page, before “Liking” (16 Aug. 2011, 8:30 AM Pacific)
Note: This is the landing page displayed when using the primarily URL, Facebook.com/citibank

Citibank's Facebook page, before "Liking" (16 Aug 2011, 8:30 Pacific 

Citibank’s Facebook page, after “Liking” (16 Aug. 2011, 9:15 PM Pacific)


Amazon.com Shoppers Prompted to Select Discover Card as Default Payment Option, with a $1 Million Carrot

image A few months ago, American Express provided five free song downloads as incentive for its cardholders to make Amex the default card option within the iTunes store (previous post).

Today, I noticed Discover offering an eye-opening incentive to get their card listed as the default option for one-click purchases on Amazon.com:

A chance to win $1 million every time you pay

This offer is part of the year-long Discover Everyday Giveaway usage sweeps. 


Discover Card’s $1 million promotion on Amazon.com (12 Aug. 2011)
Note: A small ad first appeared in the upper-right part of the screen, this is what it looked like after I chose “Expand”

 Discover Card's $1 million promotion on Amazon.com

How it works (link)
Note: This screen presented when clicking on “Learn more” from above banner


Truliant Federal Credit Union Gives Away iPads to Promote FinanceWorks PFM

image There are three huge usability challenges with online personal financial management (PFM):

  • It’s hard to get started
  • It’s a pain to keep up with tagging transactions to make the data meaningful
  • It can be disconcerting for many users to view spending summaries

That’s why so few Americans engage in PFM, despite its obvious benefits (note 1). One way to tackle the first problem: Offer a sweepstakes or bonus to induce trial.

Truliant FCU is doing that with a late-summer sweeps encouraging members to log in and give its FinanceWorks (powered by Intuit’s Quicken) program a try. Members who sign up for the PFM between July 6 and Sept. 29 are automatically entered into the sweeps. There is no cost for the service (note 2).

Prizes include:

  • $100 awarded each week
  • iPad 2 awarded each month

Total value of the prizes is about $3,000.


Truliant FCU PFM sweeps (11 Aug. 2011)

Truliant FCU PFM sweeps

1. For more on online personal financial management (OFM), see Online Banking Report (published May 2010).  
2. We urge FIs to consider charging for value-added services such as online PFM. See our recent Online Banking Report, Creating Fee-Based Online & Mobile Banking Services (published May 2011) for the rationale.

PerkStreet Financial Targets USAA Debit-Rewards Customers with Ads on Facebook

image Every once in a while I stumble onto Facebook, usually by following a link from a credit union or banking site. It happened a few days ago, when I clicked a link in the middle of Visions FCU Rocks, a cool youth banking microsite from Visions Federal Credit Union.

The Visions Facebook page was fine, but it was the little ad in the lower-right that grabbed my attention (see inset and screenshot below).

imagePerkStreet Financial, which has perhaps the richest debit-rewards program in the nation, with 1% to 2% cash back, is targeting USAA customers who just lost their debit card rewards program altogether. The landing page (see screenshot below) does a good job laying out the financial benefits and funneling visitors to the online app.

Bottom line: It’s a good time to tout debit card rewards, if you are sure you are keeping it. And targeting USAA customers specifically seems worth testing.

But if I was a USAA customer doing whatever people do on Facebook, I think I would find the, “Your USAA Account Changes” headline vaguely misleading. It might be better to use a headline more like the first sentence of the ad, “USAA is ending debit card rewards” or even, “Be glad USAA ended debit rewards.”  

That’s it for my attempt at teaching “headline writing 101.” Class dismissed. Have a great weekend.  

PerkStreet Financial targets USAA customers with Facebook ad (12 July 2011)

Perkstreet Financial targets USAA customers with Facebook ad (12 July 2011)

PerkStreet landing page (link)