BBDO’s Visa Business Card Series Evolves


LOS ANGELES Two men using Visa Business Card services to furnish their empty office with chairs have been supplanted by two women running a dressmaking company in a thematically continuing campaign by BBDO West.

The agency’s 30-second TV spot was introduced with a single airing this morning on Today and breaks nationwide tomorrow, said Nancy Friedman, vice president of advertising at Visa in San Francisco. She would not disclose campaign spending, but said the company intends to “support it heavily” for the remainder of the year.

In the commercial, two stylishly dressed women describe their division of labor—Cheyann focuses on sales, Claire handles design. They use the Visa Business Card for ordering supplies, handling a fabric delivery, and viewing management reports between model-draping sessions and pitching clients. In the voiceover, Cheyann credits Visa for managing cash flow, tracking expenses and offering flexible payment options. The spot ends with the superimposed tagline, “Visa Business Card. It’s everywhere you want to be.”

While acknowledging that female small-business ownership is rising as a national trend, Friedman said the spot is directed towards a broader audience of entrepreneurs running companies with fewer than 100 employees and less than $25 million in sales. Indeed, the spot will run primarily on network morning news programs and on male viewer skewed late-night talk shows until its first prime time slot on Oliver Beene, Aug. 24.

The campaign targets a class of business owners who are “doing something that they love to do, although they may not be passionate about the business side,” said Friedman. She said the company wanted the ads to stress three particular components: the credit card, the line of credit and the business check card.

“It was a long process to find the appropriate business, the right product and the right people, in terms of the personalities involved,” said Tom Hollerbach, president and CEO of BBDO West in San Francisco, about conceiving and casting the commercial. “The women in the spot are not the actual owners, though you want it to feel as if they’re the actual owners.”

Hollerbach said a Los Angeles dressmaking business was chosen because it has a less “corporate feel.”

“We wanted to convey that it’s a serious card for a serious business, but fun, too,” he said.