Credit-Card Giant Targets Web, Print

LOS ANGELES Visa is redirecting its “Signature” credit-card advertising exclusively online and in print to better target wealthy customers seeking rewards, said Susanne Lyons, executive vice president and chief marketing officer.

Visa studies show that newly affluent consumers earning more than $125,000 per annum skew highest for online use, tend not to watch television and put a premium on user rewards, she said.

“The ‘Signature’ campaign needs to separate itself from Visa, but not be so high falutin’ as to be esoteric or exclusive,” said Rob Schwartz, executive creative director at Omnicom Group’s TBWA\Chiat\Day in Playa del Rey, Calif.

The San Francisco-based client spent $435 million in major measured media in 2006, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

“‘Life takes Visa’ has been out there for a year, and the line has taken root,” said Lyons. “But people were not connecting the campaign to Visa as much as we’d like.” Lyons said the new approach moves from “‘slice of life’ to ‘bigger than life'” stories.

For example, in concert with the unusual rewards incentives, a print ad set at Churchill Downs features a checklist in the copy. Items include: “See Napa from a hot air balloon,” “Kiss the Blarney Stone” and “Get a spa treatment that requires a team.” The last item, connected to the Visa logo by a silver band, reads: “Go to the Kentucky Derby.”

Visa’s program addresses reward seekers by concentrating creative on the beyond mileage points, on “things you can’t buy. We call them access points,” Lyons said. Rewards include backstage access at the NFL draft, Derby tickets and luxury amenities such as concierge services.” She said such special access to experiences would build brand equity under the Signature umbrella.

“We want to position Visa as the brand that empowers people to do stuff, and this campaign does that,” said Schwartz. “In this case, the disruption is a virtuous disruption: Things to do while you are alive.”

The new work breaks this week and will run through September.