It’s 2007. April of 2007. It’s time to stop putting clip art and stock art and crappy images on your marketing stuff. Stop it. Now.

In the past two months I’ve been on the road speaking to credit union marketers. In Wisconsin, Georgia and now Tennessee I’ve seen the same scary thing. We are all using the same stock art!

Since deregulation in the late 1970’s, credit unions have been desperately trying to get you to move your checking account (aka share draft) over to them. They will call it “free-er” and bribe people with iPods or cash to get you to switch over. We just HAVE to have your checking account.

What do you, the member, get in return? Perhaps the ugliest debit card (aka check card) you’ll ever own. How did this happen? One can only guess that the debit card vendors are not marketers and presented their client with the “page-o-stock-art” and suggested they take a minute to pick out the one they liked best. The VISA coordinator marched the page down the hall to the marketing person who took it to their board marketing committee and they decided to pick the least exciting and most literal image. The picture of the check with the pen poised over it. In grey.

I have seen this exact stock art image on at least a dozen DIFFERENT credit union’s debit cards in the past month. It’s embarrassing. We look so….. 1977.

Remember those members who would spend (what felt like) hours pouring over the selections for their checks? Should I get puppies or kittens? Why did they do that? Because they were going to be writing checks all over town and they wanted something that reflected their personality.

So why can’t we do this for the VISA check card? At the very least, let’s get a card that reflects the common bond of your credit union. If you serve teachers, maybe a cool old chalk board? Postal workers, the postal eagle? Firefighters, their cool logo ? If you serve a community, get a digital camera and go take a picture of something unique. But for heaven’s sake, please stop using stock art.

I gotta go watch the The Love Boat .