Visa Says Plastic Is Better than Paper

The No. 1 brand of credit card, Visa, has a new take using plastic. In a new global campaign breaking March 4, Visa tells consumes credit cards aren’t about spending more money. Rather, “More people go with Visa” touts plastic as a better way to spend than paper cash and checks.

The campaign, created by TBWA/Worldwide, plays up the security, control and convenience of using a Visa card. The first two U.S. ads, “Let’s go” and “Aquarium,” will debut on American Idol on Wednesday. In the coming weeks, print ads will flag the benefits of the Visa Check Card.

Visa also launched microsite It invites consumers to submit pictures and provide recommendations about different experiences to try along with offers from various merchants. “Visa gives people the ability to take action, the actions that are most important to them,” said Visa CMO Antonio Lucio in a statement. “The ‘More people go with Visa’ campaign is an invitation to make the most out of life every day, a powerful message. It’s not about spending more, it’s about using Visa for those things that are important to you every day.”  

The campaign is meant to be optimistic “yet grounded in the reality that people are seeking to live both in the moment and within their means,” per the company. Visa is also touting its range of payment products while giving financial education information and providing money management tools at AKQA is digital agency.

Such a change in positioning is important for the brand, per Ted Marzilli, global managing director for BrandIndex. According to its poll of consumers during the first two months of the year, consumer perceptions of credit card brands has been plummeting. Visa’s overall buzz score fell 5.7 percent while MasterCard and American Express each dropped nearly 10 percent.

“Everyone has been trending negatively because credit limits have been reduced, cards are being canceled,” said Marzilli. “Visa is focusing on less ostentatious spending. It’s not put the card down and make big purchases. That’s counter-intuitive because they know people are cutting back on spending.”

The prior campaign, “Life takes Visa,” ran for three years. Visa spent $350 million on U.S. media, excluding online, last year, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.