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AKQA Rolls Out More Online Olympics Ads for Visa

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A Web site temporarily becomes an ice-hockey rink in the latest ad breaking for Visa's "Bring home the gold" promotion. The new interactive ad, created by AKQA in San Francisco, is running on ABCNews.com.

Visitors to the site this week will notice that the content is lightly shaded over in a grayish color resembling ice. As the page loads, a small Visa-branded Zamboni—the machine driven around the rink to resurface the ice—glides across the top of the screen. As it moves back and forth down the page, the gray veneer melts away and the site appears.

The Zamboni then settles on the right-hand side of the screen, where a vertical Visa ad pops up. The copy reads: "All you really need to know about ice hockey at the 2002 Games is—if the U.S. wins the gold medal you could win $10,000."

"Advertising on the Internet isn't all about the click anymore," said Stuart Sproule, director of account services at AKQA.

Users can garner more information on the promotion within the unit itself by clicking on the "More" tag.

The ad is the latest in the second phase of Visa's online push for the Winter Olympics and is tied to the credit-card company's sponsorship of this year's Games. The first phase of work ran from November to January. This phase picked up at the beginning of February and will run through the end of the month.

Ads, which include bobsledding and curling spots, will also run on sites such as NBCOlympics.com, ESPN.com and NYTimes.com.

Olympics ads are only a portion of the work AKQA has done for Visa since winning the $12-15 million digital business last August. AKQA beat out two i-shops, Organic in San Francisco and Modem Media in Norwalk, Conn., to snag the account. It was previously handled by BBDO's @tmosphere.

AKQA has been "everything we hoped for in terms of a strategic partner on the brand level and also in how they have executed for us in the online environment," said Liz Silver, svp of advertising and brand management at Visa USA in San Francisco.

Silver conceded that online does not play a huge role in Visa's advertising mix in terms of overall budget, but at the e-commerce level, she said, "it's the main game."