VISA

As a rule, ads conform to the doctrine that a picture is worth a thousand words. This one appears to do so in pairing a big photo with a small text. There’s a catch, though: The photo shows us something we’re not supposed to do, and Visa is hoping the ad’s dozen or so words of text can override it. (“There’s a better way to accessorize with Visa. Use it at a Target store.”) This makes for a roundabout sales pitch, which can be summarized as follows: (1) Here’s something you might do. (2) But don’t do it. (3) Do this other thing instead. I’ll grant that most of us won’t feel our brain cells have been overtaxed by this sequential message. Still, it doesn’t give us a decisive shove toward using our Visa cards to buy stuff at Target. Other ads in the series show a Visa card misused as part of an over-the-crib mobile and as a Christmas-tree ornament. In each case, the image is an odd match for the slogan, “Visa. It’s everywhere you want to be.” Apparently it’s everywhere you want to be, plus several places where it shouldn’t be.