Citibank Opens Olympic Checkbook For Campaign Supporting Team USA

By Barry Janoff

May 16, 2012: As part of its inaugural sponsorship and first-time status as official bank sponsor of the 2012 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams, Citi has unveiled a marketing campaign that features 13 Olympic and Paralympic qualifiers, hopefuls and alumni who are members of Team Citi.

What Citi is calling the "largest and most integrated U.S. sponsorship campaign" in the company’s history features such athletes as Meb Keflezighi (marathon), Bob and Mike Bryan (doubles tennis) and Cullen Jones (swimming). The campaign encompasses TV, print, out-of-home, digital, events, promotions and retail activation.

Theme for the effort: “Every Step of the Way.”

“Citi’s sponsorship of Team USA is a significant asset to our brand and our business as a platform to engage clients and consumers in a meaningful way, particularly as we mark our 200th anniversary,” Dermot Boden, Citi chief brand officer, said in a statement. “Through this campaign, we want to express how proud we are to support the athletes every step of the way to London, while affirming to our clients how proud we are to be a partner on their journey from ambition to achievement.”

Citi’s campaign will highlight such banking products as Mobile Check Deposit, Citibank Popmoney and a ThankYou Points sharing app. Citi plans to make a $500,000 donation to the U.S. Olympic Committee — represented by 50 million ThankYou Points via a dedicated microsite — among different sport programs that have inspired Team Citi’s 13 athletes."

Several TV spots, which will break now through the 2012 Olympics, feature Team Citi athletes including Keflezighi, the Bryan Brothers, Jones, Amanda McGrory (Paralympic track and field), Gwen Jorgensen (triathlon), Kari Miller (sitting volleyball), Sanya Richards-Ross (track and field), Danell Leyva (men’s gymnastics), Carlos Leon (Paralympic discus) and Christie Rampone (women’s soccer).

The spots also also be shown in Citibank branches and on Citibank ATM screens nationwide, as well as out-of-home executions in New York City’s Bryant Park, The Grove in Los Angeles and Ogilvy Station in Chicago.

In "Running," we follow Keflezighi as he runs though a city en route to doing his banking. But given his ability to cover 26-plus miles per marathon, he bypasses numerous Citi locations and, ultimately, returns home to use his Citi mobile check deposit app on his cell phone. (See the full spot here.)

In "Big Check," Bob and Mike Bryan also use Citi mobile check depositing, which enables you to take a photo of a check and send it to your account. But a problem arrises when brothers win a tennis match and need to photograph the oversize check they have been handed. (See the full spot here.)

Citibank Web pages will also have a Team USA theme throughout the London Games.

“In today’s complex world, consumers want solutions that simplify their lives,” Michelle Peluso, Citi’s global consumer chief marketing and Internet officer, said in a statement. “We are excited to launch an advertising campaign that features the Team Citi Olympic and Paralympic qualifiers and hopefuls in a fun, genuine spirit while showcasing the flexibility, control, ease and simplicity that our innovative digital products deliver for our customers.”

In addition to Citi, USOC marketing partners include AT&T, BMW, BP, Anheuser-Busch (Budweiser), Chobani, The Hartford, Hilton, Nike, Kellogg's, United and TD Ameritrade.

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