My Take on Debt

The following is an exercise creating a script for an ad for Utah Community Credit Union’s new credit card. The exercise walks through the main idea of the script and defends why I believed the script would be successful. Then, the short script is built. The exercise focuses on just the dialogue, not on any visuals or story boards this time.

My take on Debt

Trent Whiting

            My product is the new 4-3-2-1 credit card from UCCU. This is a product that has been on the market for a month now and I am a big big fan of it because I helped create it but also I think that it’s one of the most financially useful tools out there. Here’s how I’m going to make it go viral.

  •  Nothing makes you look better than standing at the cash register with friends saying, “I just earned 2% cash back on that.” A lot of the big-name rewards cards out there are out of reach to new borrowers like me. Plus, UCCU has only just started posting billboards about the product. There are less than 1000 users of the card right now. Surely there is some remarkability from that.
  • Triggers. Checking out at the store is a trigger. My hand naturally goes straight past my debit card to my rewards card because I get value when I use it.
  • Emotion. I believe that a positive thought is infinitely more powerful than a negative thought. I can tell a story about growing up afraid of getting into debt. I can talk about how this card helped me overcome my fear and put me on a path of greater financial stability.
  • People can definitely see when others are using this product. The waitress at the restaurant will see it. The cashier will see it. Even people in line around you have the chance to see what card you’re using, and which bank it belongs to.
  • Talking about money is always valuable. There really isn’t another card like this on the market. During positioning discussions, Costco was our biggest competitor. But Costco has caps and limits on rewards payouts. UCCU doesn’t.

I think a big part of why this content piece will go viral is that it will challenge UCCU’s customers to think of debt differently. UCCU positions itself as a conservative institution. They believe that their customers are conservative people who typically don’t use debt to finance their daily purchases. In fact, their credit card usage is low compared to their competition. One of my objectives in creating this content piece is to encourage customers to use the card more often.

      One of the biggest factors that will make this piece go viral is the social currency. It really hasn’t been on the market very long and there isn’t another product that compares to it other than the offering from Costco. (According to UCCU’s market analysis). That social currency can be broadcast at a point of purchase like a grocery store checkout line. The checkout line is a natural trigger for the card since that’s the place where it will be used. If someone doesn’t have the card yet the checkout line could trigger the thought “If I had the UCCU card, I could be earning x% cash back on this.”

            I believe that in turn, this trigger can fuel the emotion of pride. Pride is the main catalyst for social currency. People want to believe that they are special. So, pride comes into play. In the content piece. I also attempt to help people overcome a fear of using the card. I try to help them overcome the fear of debt that is inerrant in a conservative society. If corporations use debt to create products and grow their business, why shouldn’t a person or family be able to use debt to grow? 

            Sure, the card advertises itself. It is easily seen on billboards and in the checkout line. People generally know how the card works. It shouldn’t take a lot of work to get the word out. The piece that may be private is how debt is used. The status quo dictates that credit cards should be used only rarely. This content piece is taking that idea and saying that you should use this card more and more because you get the benefit of cash back from it.

            I believe that it adds practical value. I have interacted with a few people my age who do not have credit cards yet. They know they should get a credit card, so they can start building up credit history, but they don’t know what great options are available to them right away. Talking about this product in this way will provide them with practical value and confidence in choosing a card.

            I will tell a story in the content about how I knew the card was going to come out, but I didn’t have it yet. I will talk about how it felt to be making purchases, especially booking a hotel room, knowing that in the very near future I would be earning 4% of my money back on that hotel. I can convey my excitement for the card through that story and it will be contagious to the viewer.


“Let me tell you a story about a little boy. Little boy, little lover boy. Wanted to get married. Wanted to take his wife on a nice honeymoon. Couldn’t afford it. So, he made a questionable decision and used a credit card to pay for it. Went into a lot of debt. Debt stayed with him for a long time. Long time, he fought to get out of it. Ended up paying a chunck of money in interest. For the better part of a year he owed more on his credit card than he had in his checking and savings accounts.

I’m not here to talk about why that was a bad decision, I’m here to talk about the work that he put in before making the decision that allowed him to be okay. The work that helped him get out. The work that helped him not get in too deep. You see he had the right tools. His credit card had a much lower limit than what the bank would’ve given him. Can’t get in too deep when the card won’t let you get in too deep. Also, he was smart about the credit union that provided the card. Low interest rates. No annual fees. Manageable monthly payments. He got out of that debt and learned a lesson or two that make him smart today. At UCCU, they have a credit card that will allow you to make smart financial decisions. It’s their brand new 4-3-2-1 cash rewards card. With low rates, manageable limits and no annual fees you can think to yourself every time you swipe it. “I just got cash back on that” or “technically, I just saved x% on that”. You may even comment to your friends and family in line with you. You are now the financially savvy one in the group. Congratulations. Welcome to the inner circle. Next, they’lll ask you for advice on which card to get and you can tell them exactly what you think. How’s that?”

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