Matt Andresen

Former mascot, banker, co-owner of web analytics co. and financial advising co. Currently PR, content and analytics marketing dude with Cleland Marketing.


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Wake Up! It was just a Debt Nightmare.

Debt Nightmare

Click on the picture above to see an awesome and short Brass Media DEBT Trailer.

Not too long ago I remember having bad weekly nightmares.  I started writing them down when I woke up and I struggled to understand their meaning.  The good dreams made more sense or at least had a higher meaning with a possible life lesson, but the nightmares didn’t seem to serve a purpose, other than to lengthen my anxiety…until I looked at what might be causing them; my debt.

According to a Huffington Post Article, “Not all nightmare triggers have to be traumatic, however. Everyday stressors, such as job or financial anxiety, or major life transitions such as moving or divorce, can also cause nightmares.”

I remember having one dream so real and scary that I still remember it vividly, but when I woke up the first thing I thought of was my debt.  The dream was about being forced with others to enter a gladiator type ring with very unstable bulls.  I guess that is what debt feels like; having to fight off unstable bulls constantly.  From my personal experience, the only chance at survival is to come up with a plan and find help.

Since I work for a company in the field of financial education (Brass Media), I get to see a lot of what is out there in attempt to make people more aware, which is why so many groups target middle and high schoolers.  It should be understood though, that while teaching those how to handle their money (that don’t yet know any better), it’s equally important (if not more so),  to teach those who learned the hard way…like me.

This nightmare of mine translated into a small nightmare for my bank (there will be a future blog post just about this), since I was no longer a “sticky” product customer. When my debt started getting out of control, the last thing I thought about was getting a loan or starting a savings account (let alone worrying about direct deposit or bill pay – yikes!), yet my banker would ask me all the time about both, without targeting the real issue: my debt nightmare.

Dreams are literally wounded by debt and until others understand how debt can enslave and starve a person, there may never be a good cure.  Living within your means may be trying and painful at times, but it is better than living with debt.  If, like Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs said, “It’s all about the Benjamins,” then maybe it’s best to look to Mr. Franklin to get some sound advice: “Rather go to bed with out dinner than to rise in debt.”

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Along side this blog post is a relevantly parallel article (below) taken from the Brass Media Archives on the good and bad of having a Credit Card (Click on the image below to enlarge the article for reading).

clutchesofcredit - Original

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Mascot Mondays – Sammy the Slug

Butch T. Cougar UnveiledIn attempt to spice up some of my Mondays and bring to life my dad’s love of mascot names, I have decided to take a peek at different mascots around the country (and maybe the world) in frequent installments called Mascot Mondays.  Since I missed last Monday and will probably miss the following Monday, due to the Holidays, today’s post will be for both. So…anyway, a Google search defined a mascot as, “A person or thing that is supposed to bring good luck or that is used to symbolize a particular event or organization.”  At Wazzu, I was a fairly normal mascot (Butch. T. Cougar), but I hope to discover some not so normal good luck bearers going forward.

First up: Sammy the Slug

UC Santa Cruz Banana Slugs

UC Santa Cruz has one of the most amusing and awesome (according to my father) mascots: The Banana Slug. UC Santa Cruz wanted more inclusive physical education and recreational programs and according to the UC Santa Cruz website, “The students’ embrace of such a lowly creature was their response to the fierce athletic competition fostered at most American universities.”  While the mascot name does not foster fear, in certainly does well at symbolizing a more welcoming environment and as one of their T-Shirts states: “Banana Slugs-No Known Predators.”


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Bank Spotlight: Middleburg Bank – The Mascot Approach to Marketing

Adopting a mascot at your financial institution could significantly help engagement with your customers, while making your branding efforts easier.  One financial institution, Middleburg Bank, has not necessarily out foxed anyone, but rather out focused other banks in their marketing approach around their “spokesfox”, Mosby.

As Mosby says on Middleburg Bank’s Website: ” I have been associated with the Bank since 1924, when the first office of Middleburg Bank opened across from the Red Fox Inn. ‘Why is a fox associated with Middleburg Bank?’ you might ask. Well, for generations, we foxes have long been a part of the culture of Middleburg and the surrounding areas of Virginia. As the fox is an intelligent, resourceful animal (if I do say so myself), I was chosen to represent the spirit of the bank and I’ve been an integral part of the Bank’s identity for many years. A couple of years ago, the Bank wisely made the decision to feature me as their “spokesfox” and since that time, my role within the Bank has continued to grow. In fact, last month Gary let me take over the Bank’s Facebook page and interact there with our many clients and fans.”

I’m on hundreds of bank websites/social media pages each week and Middleburg Bank really stands out, thanks to Mosby.  In talking to Robert Miller, Chief Marketing Officer at Middleburg Bank, he says that without Mosby, their marketing would look very different “with messages built around products, rates and commitment to the community.  While we still touch on some of those things in our
current marketing, using Mosby has allowed us to develop a distinctive identity, voice and personality.  We believe that over the long haul, this approach will drive the brand’s likeability and help separate us from the pack.”

I can identify with this, stemming from a couple of my own experiences.  Universities use mascot’s for the same purpose as banks; to symbolize the identity of the group, school, city or community for which it represents.   I was the Cougar mascot (Butch T. Cougar) of Washington State University.  I was surprised about how much time I had to put in to understand the personality of Washington State’s beloved mascot.  The Cougar mascot before me was Blitz the Seahawk for the Seattle Seahawks and he helped train me.  This may sound silly, but there were three of us all playing the role of Butch T. Cougar and we all needed to have the same walk, mannerisms etc.  They took this serious enough that I was not allowed to tell anyone who I was.   It was to remain a secret until right before I graduated.

Yet another example comes from when I did a couple of appearances as Chase the Dog, while working for Chase Bank.  Now, I was there during the “fun” occupy movement and let’s just say Chase wasn’t seen as the best bank in the universe, yet there was more engagement happening in our branch around a mascot that couldn’t talk then we had prior.  People could identify with the personality of a dog; loyal, happy, loveable and eager to meet new people.

So what’s the point?  Well, so many financial institutions have enough people working on marketing, that it’s hard to find one voice or one personality.  Having one voice and personality is so important and nobody knows what that voice and personality looks and sounds like better than the bank.  There is an Irish Proverb that says, “The fox never found a better messenger than himself.” This is so important because if someone else does all the work, you may have a very different voice/personality and this could compromise your brand.  When asked by folks why I love Washington State so much, all I have to do is describe the personality of the mascot I worked so hard to become; Courageous no matter what, community focused, VERY spirited, kind, and willing to waive the flag anytime, anywhere.  How do you easily describe your bank’s voice/personality without your financial institution just adding to all the white noise? I know how Middleburg Bank does…

Middleburg Bank’s Website Logo


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The Heart of my experience

Corvallis, Oregon

Corvallis, in latin literally means Heart of the Valley.  It is more than that to me.  As much as I would love to say I was born and raised here, I can’t.  I was born in Seattle, Washington and moved here when I was 2-years-old. Nothing against Seattle, but a big part of what defines you is not where you were born, but where you are from.  Many of my passions (education, faith, fitness and sports) stem from this place.  Corvallis has a higher education rate per capita than any other city in the State of Oregon and one of highest in the country.  While I live in one of the most unchurched counties in the U.S. I still have a faith stemming from my Pasor Uncle relocating here in 1990.  In regards to fitness, Corvallis boasts to be one of the most bicycle friendly towns in the U.S. and one of the healthiest. To fulfill my sports passion, I live in Beaver Nation, home of Oregon State University (my girlfriend literally lives across the street from the football stadium).

Admittedly, I went to Washington State University and have a strong passion for the Wazzu Cougars (I even was the mascot), but I also love and follow the Beavers. I could go on and on about Corvallis being the greenest city in america, the safest city in america and one of the top in pushing out pattents, but I’ll spare you.  I think you get the idea.  I just love my home town.  If you would like to know more about the town that helped mold me into who I am today check out the Visit Corvallis page.  For the more visually inclined, here is a Corvallis song complete with capured images of the town I love.  Cheers.