Young & Free Alberta – GroudSwell Winner

During my busy day at work I have been trying to follow the GroundSwell awards on Twitter. They are streaming the awards live from the Forrester Consumer COnferenece, but I am too busy to watch, so twitter updates it is.

Common Wealth Credit Union has just won a GroundSwell award for their campaign Young & Free and I wanted to share it….

Their challenge was to launch a free checking account for the under 25 group and connect with the youth market . But how do you raise brand awareness with members of the seemingly unreachable Generation Y and create excitement and understanding with all 400 staff members?

They named the new product Young & Free and created a fully integrated marketing campaign combined with a spokesperson search to find the voice of Alberta’s under 25 crowd. The whole campaign comes to life on a dedicated microsite at

To be seen as real and accepted by youth they embraced the power of the social web by tapping into popular sites like YouTube, Facebook, Flickr and Twitter to create an immersive experience where compelling user-generated content takes centre stage.

The program launched in October 2007 with a two-month search and competition to find a dedicated Young & Free Alberta Spokesperson. The winner, Larissa Walkiw, became a paid employee of the credit union, working full time with the job description: talk, type and tell good stories. For her nine-month term, Larissa was essentially a full time blogger for the credit union. They have now launched the year two search.

Results include:

  • 63,431 site visits
  • 197,529 page views
  • 3:14 average visit
  • 80,726 YouTube views
  • 906 blog comments
  • 230 Facebook fans
  • 101 Twitter followers
  • $179,000 unpaid media
  • 2,000,000+ impressions
  • 2,316 Y&F accounts
  • $3,587,000 new funds

Account openings have been brisk, site traffic has exceeded expectations and media and youth interest in the program has been overwhelming. Since the program launched in October 2007, new account openings have grown by 960% over the same period one year prior in the 19 to 25 year old age group. Traffic and sales have been steady for the entire year even though all supporting traditional media stopped after the first two months of the program.

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