PenFed’s Splashy and Expensive Ad Campaign

In 2020, Tysons, Va.-based PenFed rolled out a splashy $50 million ad campaign in five states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia touting its “great rates for everyone.” Old restrictions for membership no longer apply at PenFed and other large credit unions that do not pay federal income taxes. Membership, PenFed proudly points out, is literally open to all.

PenFed’s big marketing push came just months after the $25 billion credit union established a “common bond” with the advertising industry by buying its own ad agency. It acquired WHITE64, also of Tysons, Va., in September of 2019. The agency has more than 50 employees and its leaders said at the time of the acquisition that they expect the firm to continue to grow their staff under PenFed’s umbrella—while they continue to serve other commercial clients like Hilton.

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