Visa, MasterCard Ready Ad Kickoffs For NFL Kickoffs

Both Visa and MasterCard are gearing up for the upcoming NFL season with campaigns breaking on Thursday.

Visa USA has an integrated campaign that will include national usage promotions, member bank and merchant activation programs, the use of once-in-a-lifetime NFL experiences in its product marketing efforts and the continuation of "Financial Football," an educational program to promote financial literacy in schools across the country. The San Francisco-based Visa premieres its latest TV spot, "When the Saints Go Marching In," featuring New Orleans Saints players and their fans during the NFL season Kickoff Game between the Saints and the Indianapolis Colts on NBC. This spot demonstrates how Visa helps football fans get the most out of their game day experience by highlighting the many ways and places to pay with Visa. The spot includes New Orleans Saints players, including Drew Brees, Reggie Bush and Deuce McAllister.

"We've built one of our deepest NFL campaigns ever," Michael Lynch, senior vice president/partnership marketing, Visa USA, tells Marketing Daily. "If it's not the biggest, it's pretty close."



Visa is focusing its overall marketing program on doing "fewer, but more impactful" programs, he says.

The Visa Inside Pass national promotion has tested as one of the best promotions Visa has ever conducted, Lynch says. "The beauty is, by having the league relationship, we can do national promotions," he says, and then also take the half dozen or so team relationships and forge regional promotions connected to those.

Visa's NFL marketing campaign will have participation from more than 526 issuers and 20 key merchants, including more than 48 million pieces of consumer-facing communications. Visa's marketing support for members includes participation in the national promotion, media support, access to Visa's unique NFL experiences, and other custom promotional opportunities.

In addition to record participation from nine Tier 1 issuing banks, Visa will also enable national merchants such as Marriott and satellite TV service DirecTV to create customized programs to drive usage. Guests who stay at Courtyard by Marriott this fall and pay with Visa will be automatically entered into the "Road to the Super Bowl Challenge Sweepstakes." DirecTV will encourage customers to enroll in Visa Automatic Bill Pay by offering the ultimate Super Bowl watching party, including an appearance by an NFL player and other prizes.

Meanwhile, MasterCard Worldwide also breaks new TV spots during Thursday's game, featuring Indianapolis Colts star quarterback Peyton Manning. "Priceless Pep Talks from Peyton Manning" is a series of tongue-in-cheek vignettes in which Manning appears on a practice field extolling satirical life lessons for fans.

For the first time in Manning's relationship with Purchase, N.Y.-based MasterCard--which dates back to 2004--fans can interact with the campaign by visiting, where they can personalize one of 12 Pep Talks from Manning and e-mail the video to someone they know. The vignettes range from motivating advice on driving a minivan to counseling a friend on starting a new job or wishing someone a happy birthday.

MasterCard has sponsorship relationships with more than 20 local NFL teams, and 10 NFL stadiums are equipped to accept MasterCard PayPass.

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