Visa Revamps Brand Direction

LOS ANGELES Visa today unveiled its first new branding direction in 20 years, according to Suzanne Lyons, its executive vice president and chief marketing officer.

The tagline, ending the decades-long reign of “It’s everywhere you want to be,” is “Life takes Visa,” Lyons said.

The tag dates back “at least a couple of years” to Omnicom Group’s BBDO, Lyons said, though it was only used in fact by Publicis Groupe’s Leo Burnett in English-language communications in Latin American countries.

“A line is just a line,” Lyons said. “The way it is being used and integrated into the new campaign is nothing like in the past.”

This marks the first major Visa effort from Omnicom’s TBWA\Chiat\Day in Playa del Rey, Calif., since the client moved to that agency from sibling BBDO in November [Adweek Online, Nov. 14].

The “Life takes Visa” tag was chosen by TBWA\C\D creative chief Lee Clow,” Lyons said. “He walked into a room in his sandals and shorts where we had hundreds of taglines posted all over. He pointed to ‘Life takes Visa’ and said, ‘That’s a good one.'”

She said a complete campaign, including 60- and 30-second brand spots that premiere during the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics this Friday, would increase media spending by 10 percent, heavily weighted toward the Olympics (of which Visa is a major sponsor) and in the next few months.

Executions involve “a series of vignettes featuring ordinary people using Visa for everyday use to once in a lifetime purchases, expressing the joyous Visa personality,” said Lyons.

Visa spent $300 million on ads in the first 11 months of 2005 after spending $335 million in full-year 2004, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.