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Week-long Gas Giveaway Reaps Press Coverage
COLUMBIA, S.C. (3/11/13)--
Click to view larger image Hundreds of cars lined up for free gas, compliments of Credit Unions of South Carolina, last week in four cities in that state. The events drew widespread media attention and helped consumers counter high gasoline prices. (Photo provided by Credit Unions of South Carolina and Your Marketing Co.)
South Carolina credit unions' gas giveaway, which News Now reported on Wednesday, turned out to be a media bonanza for credit unions, say those involved in the project last week.

"It was impossible to turn on your local television news, tune into a radio station, or open your newspaper and not see the words 'credit union' somewhere," said Bo McDonald, president of Your Marketing Co and organizer of the MADTAG giveaways sponsored by the Credit Unions of South Carolina. MADTAG aims to highlight credit unions' good deeds in their communities.

Several credit unions in the state joined to offer free gas to consumers to the first 100 drivers in a line at gas stations in Florence, Charleston and Columbia, and later in Greenville.

"Last year the gas giveaways totaled more than $240,000 in earned media coverage from television, radio and local newspapers," said McDonald. "So far this year before the Greenville event even takes place, we're estimating almost $250,000 in earned media."

"So far we've given away over 1,700 gallons of gas to 300 people," said Anne Shivers, CEO, Carolina Collegiate FCU.  "The response has been great, and we've heard back from so many thankful drivers. One driver this morning mentioned that her car was on E and was still two days away from getting paid."

While MADTAG representatives estimated about 200 cars in line for the free fill-ups at Tuesday's event, the Florence Police Department put the number closer to 500.

"Twenty dollars will only fill my truck up to about a quarter of a tank," said Woodrow King, a driver who received free gas in Florence. "But the wait is well worth it, with gas prices as high as they are now."

Credit unions will offer one more giveaway upstate.
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