Having a zero focus.

See how Merck Sharp & Dohme FCU beat the odds in a sluggish credit card environment.

To say this past year has been fraught with much fear, tragedy, economic crisis and lifestyle upheaval is certainly an understatement. Most of us by now are exhausted just trying to make sense of it all. That, of course, includes all of us here at R+P working overtime to do “right” by our clients and our clients’ members in a constantly changing economic landscape.

Through it all we’ve been front and center, pushing hard for our clients to present serious, responsible financial solutions by packaging “loan suites” as a means to the end of reattaining financial security and balance. We think it is still the exact right strategy for many, if not the majority of, credit unions out there. Members are still hurting—some very, very badly.

While we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel, the journey ahead remains arduous for credit unions awash with fresh deposits, coupled with members’ apprehension about borrowing in uncertain times. Managing the balance sheet requires a strong sense of ‘what is right’ for members.

That brings us to $760M Merck Sharp & Dohme FCU out of Chalfont, PA. A rare exception in these tumultuous times, they have been more fortunate than many credit unions. On balance, they have a membership that is primarily white collar with extremely healthy annual household incomes. Sponsored by Merck & Company, Inc. and SEG-based, their members have been financially unscathed by the pandemic.

In December, they came to us with a 0% APR VISA® Balance Transfer offer they asked us to both package and develop into a multi-deliverable campaign targeting existing members exclusively. They wanted it to be bright and hopeful without coming across as completely crass or tone deaf—because offering cardholders 0% APR for 12 months is also a serious, responsible way for them to consolidate higher-rate debt and get rid of it, once and for all.

The results thus far are strong, particularly when you consider how depressed credit card spending has been over the past year. Plus, the creative approach is a ray of hope and a way of not dwelling on the pandemic.

Now that vaccine serum is flowing and the number of Americans fully vaccinated is increasing exponentially, we can all look forward to happier times. And let’s be honest. When a client presents a challenge and the opportunity to buck trends, that is just impossible for us to resist. Let’s all look forward to a day soon when “bright and aspirational” is a logical directional tone for any number of campaigns.