Visa Exec Talks London 2012, Social Media, "Go World"
Head of global brand and sponsorship marketing Jennifer Bazante. (Visa)
(ATR) Visa’s head of global brand and sponsorship marketing tells Around the Rings
the “Go World” campaign is going “even more global” ahead of the London Games.
Jennifer Bazante spoke with ATR
after last month’s launch of the TOP sponsor’s activation plans for 2012, including a call for Olympics fans worldwide to unite in a virtual cheer for Team Visa athletes.
Users can create their own video, photo or text “cheers” via Facebook
, submit with one click via YouTube
or follow @TeamVisa
and use the hashtag #VisaGoWorld.
According to Bazante in this wide-ranging Q&A, such encouragement could very well make “the difference” for some Olympians this summer.
Around the Rings:
How has the response been so far in terms of fan submission of videos, photos, text cheers, etc.?
Visa boasts 764,626 likes on its Facebook page as of June 5.
We’re really happy with the campaign so far. As you rightly call out, one of our key objectives is to engage fans. We’re at the very early stage. We just launched on May 7, but so far we’ve had really good, strong uptake of our different video content, “likes” to our Facebook page and cheer submissions by fans.
We’ve had great responses from key markets like the U.S. and Brazil and even some of our Asia-Pacific markets like Australia and Japan, and Russia’s been a fantastic addition as well with some of their activity around their promotions.
Has there been an uptick in @TeamVISA followers on Twitter, and are people using the hashtag #VISAGoWorld?
Yes, we had a lot of fantastic activity, especially around our Facebook chat with Michael Phelps. There was really a lot of interest around Michael when we did some media activity in New York around the launch. He was very generous and did several interviews with different publications in New York, and also our head of North American marketing Alex Craddock hosted a Facebook chat with him and had a lot of really positive response from fans on that.
To what degree is social media the main area in which the Go World campaign is expanding with this launch?
This is really one of the big differences between Go World this year and in past years. As you know, we launched Go World in 2008 around the Beijing Olympics and then had a very successful Vancouver Olympics as well using the Go World platform.
Visa's head of North American marketing Alex Craddock hosts a Facebook chat with Michael Phelps. (Getty Images)
This year, Go World has become an even more global proposition. I’m not sure if you’re aware, but we’ll be activating the Go World campaign in more than 70 countries around the world, so it’s a fantastic global platform where we’ve been able to achieve global reach and scale, but also allow for markets to adapt and customize the campaign to drive local relevance.
As you said, social is definitely at the core. It’s really one of the big differences as well with this campaign. In the past, Go World has been a big rallying cry where Visa has been cheering on the world, but this year with our social media efforts, we’re inviting the world to participate in those cheers as well. We understand that the athletes are at the cornerstone of everything that has to do with the Olympics. They are what connect the fans to the Olympic Games, and their cheers fuel athletes. They help them. They inspire them. And so that’s something that’s really fantastic as well.
At the end of the day, how can Visa ensure that these increased Facebook “likes”, Twitter followers, video submissions, etc. are going to make Visa money?
It’s about our integrated efforts, right, and so our integrated marketing campaign … we know from past Olympics and from past FIFA World Cups as well that our sponsorship-themed marketing platforms really drive our business. We can see an uplift in return on investment, there’s an increase on usage, we garner greater differences in brand equity or brand preference among consumers around these properties.
Visa was a title sponsor of several test events for London 2012. (Getty Images)
Social media is one component of that, and what social media allows us to do is to develop an opportunity to engage with fans. By using the Olympics and other fantastic marketing platforms like the Olympics, basically what we’re doing is we’re building a fan base that we can then continue a dialog with.
In terms of TV advertising ahead of and during the Olympics, I know the first spot with Michael Phelps “The Difference”
. Are past Olympic standout moments going to continue to be the theme of your TV spots?
“’The Difference’ is definitely an important component of the overall campaign. It’s one of several, and as you say, “The Difference” is a really great spot. We love this spot because it does call out those historical moments that is was just a difference of – clearly, it has to do with the athletic ability of these great individuals and it’s about human potential, but it’s also that sort of intangible, unquantifiable, additional effort that comes from the fans cheering them on.
And so the whole idea of the power that the fans have in inspiring the athletes, and we’ve actually heard our athletes tell us this. Kerri Walsh, for example, said to us here how some times on a bad day during training, she’ll look at the tweets or Facebook posts and when she gets encouragement from fans, it just really really makes the difference for her.
Nordic combined medalist Johnny Spillane, alpine skiier Julia Mancuso, ice hockey Olympian and IOC member Angela Ruggiero as well as snowboarder Seth Wescott pose together after participating in a VISA athlete panel during Vancouver 2010. (Getty Images)
And so “The Difference” – that’s what it’s all about. And you’ll continue to enjoy some of the great stories that we’ve told about Olympic legends as well as Olympic Team Visa hopefuls going forward.
What sort of support are Team Visa athletes getting ahead of London besides just cheers from fans?
We have been a longtime supporter of Team Visa athletes for the past 25 years. We’ve worked very closely with them. We support them in different ways, and they’re absolutely amazing to work with and they very much appreciate the partnership that Visa has with them. They are actively participating in the social media platform as well. They’re asking fans for their cheers and fans are responding. Not only do we ask the general public to cheer on our Team Visa athletes, but it’s also the opportunity for their family and friends and their closer inner circles to cheer them on as well.
Is the May 7 launch kind of Visa’s big announcement ahead of the Games, or is there other stuff to be on the lookout for?
Visa will be the only card accepted at London 2012, the 14th such Games. (ATR)
There will be other things, for sure. May 7 was the kickoff of the campaign and the broad launch of the social media platform, but definitely as the Games get closer and the fans become even more engaged with the Olympics and really excited about the teams being announced, around the actual trials and then around the Games themselves, you’ll see a lot more activity.
Interview conducted by Matthew Grayson
For general comments or questions, click here.
20 Years at #1: Your best source of news about the Olympics is www.aroundtherings.com, for subscribers only.
(Copyright 1992 - 2013, all rights reserved. The information in this report may not be published, excerpted, or otherwise distributed in print or broadcast without the express prior consent of Around the Rings.)