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In an effort to promote responsible credit and debit card usage among college students, credit unions from New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut are hosting an online video contest.  The campaign, called Get Carducated, invites college students or college-bound students between the ages of 16-21 to “make a short video about the importance of using debit, credit and/or ATM cards responsibly.”  The winners will be determined by the number of views the videos receive by October 31, 2010; the videos with the most views will be among three winners.

While there have been numerous video contests hosted by financial institutions, this effort is noteworthy for a few important reasons.  First, the effort involves sixty-seven credit unions across three states; the overall effort is sponsored (and appears to be organized) by Covera Card Solutions.  Second, the contest’s website (www.getcarducated.com) is memorable (both the web address and actual site are memorable), it’s simple, and it’s likely to appeal to the target demographic.  Third, the prizes – including a college scholarship, MacBook, and iPhone – are real incentives for 16-21 year olds to participate in the contest.  Additionally, the contest is not a contest where viewers vote on their favorite video.  Rather, the winner will be determined by the number of total video views.

The contest recently launched, so as of now there aren’t any video submissions on the campaign’s YouTube channel page.  However, that is likely to change given the reach of the participating credit unions, who, according to Covera, will be receiving customized in-branch promotional materials to promote the contest.  And again, the incentive to participate should be enough to encourage a good number of entrants.

While there are some good elements to this campaign, there appear to be some missing pieces that would likely generate more awareness and allow the campaign to be more effective overall.  Most notably, is the absence of a real social media presence (beyond the use of YouTube to host the video entries).  Get Carducated does have a Facebook page, but the information is limited to an overview of the contest which was posted more than a month ago.  A search for “get carducated” and “carducator” on Twitter returned zero results.  In-branch promotions can only be expected to do so much, especially when the target audience is 16-21 year olds.  It seems that a more robust social media presence would do a lot to support this campaign.

The winners of the contest will be announced on November 1st.

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