Bancography | Branch Planning, Marketing Research, Brand Strategy, Products & Profitabilty

The Amazing Money Maze

With economic upheaval on Wall Street, many Americans are looking for answers on a wide range of financial matters. O Bee Credit Union is telling people to “Get lost!” Literally. In a maze.

O Bee Credit Union has partnered with a local newspaper and the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions to create one of the most original, most creative and most engaging financial-education promotions ever attempted.

The credit union’s name, “O BEE,” is the centerpiece of a massive, 6-acre maze made from corn. They call it “The Amazing Money Maze.”

The “Amazing Money Maze” from O Bee Credit Union. Look closely. There are two bridges.

There are two separate corn mazes, a 1.2-mile maze and a 1.8-mile maze. In each maze there are six checkpoints. As participants work their way through one of two mazes, they try to answer questions at different checkpoints about savings, budgeting, investing, debt, credit, identity theft, retirement, college, insurance, credit score, checking/debit and housing. Each checkpoint has a question for adults, teens and children.

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After reviewing the questions and answers, participants get their checkpoint card punched to enter to win a weekly drawing for movie tickets, iPods, savings bonds, piggybanks, bags of shredded money, museum prizes, martial arts lessons, dance lessons and other stuff kids dig.

The maze is created by the hyper-imaginative folks at the Rutledge Corn Maze. In previous years, the farm’s mazes have been more conventional in their design, but still cool nonetheless.

Admission is $7. The maze is currently “haunted” for the Halloween season. Oooooh spooky!

This multi-way co-promotion is also a fund-raiser for programs that help promote financial education throughout the credit union’s communities.

If you want to see more, check out the website they’ve got set-up at amazingmoneymaze.com.

O Bee: One A Mazing Brand

An incredibly engaging financial education promo isn’t the only thing the O Bee brand has to be proud of. For instance, the “O Bee” name name is great.

For starters, it’s highly unusual, which not only helps the credit union get noticed and stand out, it allows them to have the ultra-simple web address obee.com. But the name makes sense too. You see, it’s the phonetic spelling of “O.B.,” short for “Olympia Brewing.” The credit union, the 99th ever started in the country, was originally founded in 1955 to serve the employees of Olympia Brewing.

The ‘O Bee’ name, logo and slogan all work together
to help create a rich and interesting brand story.

The credit union’s slogan, “Refreshingly Familiar,” is refreshingly unique for the financial industry. The slogan says the credit union is a comfortable place to do business, while simultaneously suggesting they have a personality and approach unlike “those other guys.”

For cutting through the clutter by carving their unique name into a cornfield, O Bee is getting a Breakthrough Brand Award from The Financial Brand.

Search For More: Breakthrough Brands, Financial Literacy, Guerilla & Non-Traditional,

All content © 2014 by The Financial Brand and may not be reproduced by any means without permission.

CUNA | Youth Week 2014

Comments

  1. That’s interesting. Thanks for sharing Eric.

    Does anyone know why/how O BEE is the one who got their name carved in a corn field, and neither of the other two credit unions?

  2. The Rutledge Corn Maze was fun. I spent time there with my daughters and their friend yesterday. We completed both mazes. Both were very elaborate.
    This was the first year that it was called “The Amazing Money Maze” which was sponsored by many local financial institutions, including WSECU and Twinstar CU, both substantially larger than OBEE. But OBEE did well with this sponsorship due to its two branches’ proximity to the corn maze and the historic Olympia Brewery in the news. The landmark, which once an important part of local employment and history for decades, is now dormant and a painful reminder of the woes that can hit our joe sixpack neighbors in a global economy (The brewery, owned by Miller, shut down after a local wastewater dispute just after Miller was sold to a South African holding company).

  3. Thanks for the clarification Lyn.

    It really is a neat idea — one I’ve not heard of from any company in any industry. Very creative, very original.

    Does anyone know if O Bee has seen this article?

  4. OBEE got their name carved in the field because it was their VP of Marketing, Lee Wojnar, who coordinated the event. I believe Lee indicated OBEE also provided the corn to create the maze. This has been such a fun way to put financial education out for families to start talking about money together. DFI is so pleased to have been a part of it! – Lyn Peters, Wa DFI Director of Communications

  5. No Roger, you’re absolutely right. In many cases, a big budget can be a crutch for uncreative, uninspired work. And conversely, a small budget can force you to be ultra-creative.

  6. Roger Conant says:

    I guess you don’t have to be a zillion-member CU to be creative, do you?

  7. Jeff,
    I just want to thank you for the positive feedback, I do appreciate it. Being a small credit union is sometimes tough to get your voice heard. The Amazing Money Maze was one of the largest gorilla marketing campaigns O Bee developed. Gorilla marketing can be a very effective strategy in stretching marketing dollars…

    We also used this approach this summer when we teamed up Maggie Moo’s Ice Cream and Treatery at the Westfield Shopping Center in Olympia and Chehalis Mints to create a unique flavor, the “O Bee Mint Brownie Blast Ice Cream”! It was a fun way three local businesses worked cooperatively together in order to stretch our marketing dollars!

    Thanks again
    Lee Wojnar
    VP of Marketing
    O Bee Credit Union
    3900 Cleveland Ave. SE
    Tumwater, WA 98501
    360-528-5362
    http://www.obee.com

  8. Thanks for the comment Lee, and again, great job!

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