Savvy or Tacky Marketing?

Credit Union building with posters in front

Credit Union building with posters on display

On the subject of “marketing” we see interesting examples from time to time and would be interested in other people’s thoughts.

For instance, is the presentation at the right — which uses large posters — doing a positive service for the credit union involved?

Posters advertising business

Are these posters tacky or savvy?

Another way to look at this is from the point of view of expectations.

Credit Union building with posters

View of posters in Credit Union windows

A person expects to see this sort of thing at a Taco Bell store.   Is there a taint to doing the posters in a modern office building?  Or, is it savvy marketing because it’s unexpected?


  1. It’s not entirely obvious from the photos, but it would appear there is absolutely no signage for this credit union at all. One might think there would some sort of sign on the building, if for no other reason than to identify themselves to customers driving around the parking lot wondering where they are.

    If I had to guess, I’ say this is a building still under construction. It lacks a finished look to me and that might explain the very out of place looking posters in the windows. If indeed the building is completed, then I might advise them to get a nice permanent sign, perhaps with logo to flank the building proudly and that if they wished to use their window space for promotion, a nice LED reader board might prove to fit in a bit better and offer the ability to have its messages customized and changed as frequently as they might like.

    • Hello JS:
      Thanks for the observation — but there is actually a large monument sign outside the range of the photo that gives the corporate name — so there’s no doubt about who it is.
      Gary Bosley

  2. Hi Gary: My thoughts about the signs in the credit union windows are that it is impossible to validly assess their marketing approach being an outsider. It’s been awhile since I did creative, but one thing a lot of consumers don’t know, is that often a particular communication isn’t directed at them. I see commercials all the time that are created for a certain market THAT I’M NOT IN. Unfortunately, we all have to sit through (or not) endless repetition of commercials that aren’t even aimed at us specifically. What needs to be know is why this strategy is in place. What is their competition doing? What research lead them in this direction? Who are they talking to? What else is being done as a part of this particular marketing “campaign”? Also, where is this taking place? This might not make the right “statement” in some neighborhoods, but in other neighborhoods, it could be perfectly persuasive. Some people will care more about “Free Checking”. Some people go out of their way to pay extra for “prestige” credit cards. These signs are not hand-painted messages like those that are used in grocery stores and used car dealerships. They are big, bold, messages printed on paper. If the credit union “cheaped out” and didn’t use UV resistant inks to keep the colors from fading, the message may start looking tacky just because of fading. Finally, what was the result? If they achieved their goal by displaying these messages, it was a good campaign.

    • Thanks for your thoughtful observations. It’s possible that you’ve gone a shade deeper into the marketing motives than the broadbrush, “first impression,” moment — when a person sees those posters in the windows for the first time.

  3. Saul Bromberger says

    Good to see you today Gary, and glad you’ve put this up for discussion. My take is that these posters would be more appropriate at a 7-11, a low cost clothing store, a hardware store, and so on. The advertising posters on these windows given that it’s a financial institution would work better for me if they were presented in a much more esthetic and pleasing way – one that isn’t so jarring, and out of place. J S Gilbert’s suggestion of a nice LED reader board could work really well. This is all about marketing that needs to appropriate for the audience we’re trying to reach.

    • Thanks for your thoughts, Saul. The irony of “the audience they’re trying to reach,” is that the institution (the building) is pretty much on a side street — not a main thoroughfare…

  4. It does attract the eye, but not necessarily in a positive way – for me at least. I’m more interested in the stability of the institution where I keep my money. Here you have an elegant building that says “big & stable”. The signs give the appearance that they need my money and giving something for free to get it. All financial institutions seem offer something “free” until you read the fine print. tend to distrust the appearance of ‘gimmicks’ The sign that refers to the “Credit Union Difference” would peak my curiosity more. Also, the frequency/placement looks more like an auto dealership. The style of the signs themselves are OK. But I respond more to stability, integrity, safety and accessibility to my money. Caveat – I’m an older male that is tight with money & don’t respond the way most people do – which is why mass marketing surveys tend to ignore me!!! I was at my bank yesterday & 2 managers were hovering over the teller trying to urge me to open another account – unsuccessfully. You have your work cut out for you!!

    • Thanks for your thoughts, Bill. You’re right on: the institution needs to be careful about the perception that the posters are butcher paper in the windows!!