Visa’s in a New York State of Mind

NEW YORK Visa USA kicks off a New York-centric marketing effort next week, starting with a TV spot featuring New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner and shortstop Derek Jeter, the company said.

The 30-second ad from BBDO in New York breaks June 3. It makes light of the Steinbrenner-Jeter fracas earlier this spring in which the owner criticized the partying ways of his star player.

The spot opens with Steinbrenner calling Jeter into his office, demanding to know how the player can afford to go out dancing and carousing at the city’s top night spots so often. Jeter listens patiently to the tirade and then wordlessly flashes the Visa card. “Oh,” the surprised owner responds. The scene cuts to Jeter and Steinbrenner enjoying a night on the town with beautiful women as a voiceover says, “Visa, it’s everywhere you want to be.”

Sources said Visa is also negotiating to sponsor the U.S. touring company of the Broadway show Movin’ Out, which is nominated for several Tony Awards. A representative for the San Francisco-based client could not immediately confirm that. Visa, however, will again be a sponsor of the Tony Awards telecast on June 8.

But perhaps the biggest event will be the June 7 Belmont Stakes, in which New York-bred Funny Cide attempts to win the third leg of the Triple Crown. Visa will give $5 million to Funny Cide’s owners if the gelding wins the race. The company made the same offer last year, but there was no Triple Crown winner.

Media spending on all these efforts was undisclosed. Overall, Visa spent $280 million on advertising in 2002, per TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.