On Tuesday, Visa launched a sweepstakes that offers one customer the chance to go to the Winter Olympics every four years for life. In the Visa Olympics Winter Games Trip for Life Sweepstakes, running through Feb. 28, every time U.S. cardholders use their Visa cards, they will automatically be entered.
Visa -- which has sponsored the Olympic Games since 1986 and is the exclusive payment card of the games -- says that starting with the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, the grand prize winner and one guest will get round-trip airfare and accommodations for two, tickets to and transportation to and from Olympic events.
The sweepstakes is part of the company's marketing campaign for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, which begin Feb. 12. The effort, with the theme "Go World," includes merchant-activation programs in Vancouver and promotions.
The company has also launched three TV spots as part of its sponsorship of the Games, one of which touts the sweepstakes, another of which shows a medley of dramatic Winter Olympic moments and one that features 1994 Olympic medalist in speed skating Dan Jansen. Voiceovers for all are by actor Morgan Freeman, who speaks in a portentous voice about the Games and Visa's role in them.
In an anthem spot, backed by a Wagnerian chorus, Freeman says: "There's a chill in the air and frost on the ground. But a mighty flame will soon ignite, firing the imagination and the spirit in all of us." He goes on to say that Visa is the only card accepted at the Olympic Games and that "More people go with Visa."
The spot featuring Jansen, which debuted on Jan. 3, recounts how the speed skater dealt with the death of his sister Jane while he was participating in the Calgary 1988 Olympic Winter Games, and then won gold at the Lillehammer 1994 Olympic Winter Games. The spot shows him celebrating by escorting his daughter on a celebratory lap around the speed skating track in memory of his sister, who originally inspired him to take up the sport.
The roster of "Worldwide Olympic Partners" who will have a presence in Vancouver next month includes Samsung, Panasonic, McDonald's, Omega, GE, and Coca-Cola.