Special to NYSportsJournalism
May 7, 2012: Visa said it is ready to unleash the largest campaign in its 25-year history as a sponsor of the Olympic Games, a "Go World" umbrella campaign that will utilize TV, print and Internet, anchored by a heavy dose of social media destinations.
In addition, for the first time, Visa is incorporating an element that solicits and encourages consumer/fan participation and the opportunity to be part of a Visa Olympics commercial.
Visa has been an Olympics marketing partner since 1986 and, under its current deal, will be the exclusive payment services sponsor and the only card accepted at Games venues throughout 2020.
“Historic and memorable moments in Olympic Games history are driven by cheers," Antonio Lucio, global chief marketing, strategy and corporate development officer for Visa Inc., said in a statement. "Our global campaign puts fans at the center of the experience and aims to unite the world in a global cheer movement to inspire athlete performances and spread the Olympic spirit.”
Visa said that the first in a series of Go World commercials, “The Difference,” would break tonight in the U.S. during The Voice on NBC, which will televise the Summer Games from July 27-Aug. 12. The spot "celebrates some of the closest and most dramatic finishes in Olympic Games history, including Michael Phelps’ win by one hundredth of a second in the 100-meter butterfly at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, and reminds viewers that cheering together can help propel athletes to greatness," according to Visa. (See the full spot here.)
The campaign will be extended via Facebook and YouTube, where visitors can see commercials and training videos of such global Team Visa athletes as Michael Phelps (U.S., swimming), Yelena Isinbaeva (Russia, pole vault), and Li Na (China, tennis) "that provide behind-the-scenes stories into the journey of Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls."
In addition to its own Web site, Visa has partnered with other sites to supper the Go World push, including NBCOlympics.com, Yahoo! and Sports Illustrated.
People worldwide are also being encouraged to support athletes by creating and submitting a "cheer" via a post, photo or video on Visa’s Facebook page or YouTube channel.
Visa said it would "reward fans in the United States for participating in the campaign by offering U.S. consumers the chance to have their cheers featured in special-edition Visa commercials celebrating the achievements of Team Visa athletes," which will air on TV and online during the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Every eligible video and photo cheer submitted in the U.S. between May 7 through June 15 will be entered and Visa will select the most creative, inspiring and supportive cheers to feature in new ads. (Full details here.)
Visa is sponsoring 60 global Olympic athlete or hopefuls, including 12 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls via Team Visa: Phelps, Bryan Clay (track and field/decathlon), Allyson Felix (track and field, sprint), Katie Hoff (swimming), Nastia Liukin (gymnastics), Lopez Lomong (athletics), Jessica Long (Paralympic swimming), Alana Nichols (wheelchair basketball), Alicia Sacramone (gymnastics), David Boudia (diving), Misty May-Treanor (beach volleyball) and Kerri Walsh (beach volleyball).
“Fans are drawn to the Olympics by the awe-inspiring feats of the world’s greatest athletes and those athletes are inspired by the cheers they receive from fans.”
“Fans are drawn to the Olympic Games by the awe-inspiring feats of the world’s greatest athletes and, in turn, those athletes are inspired by the cheers and support they receive from fans,” said Lucio.
In addition to Visa, worldwide partners of the International Olympic Committee include Acer, Atos, Coca-COla, GE, McDonald's, Omega, Panasonic, Procter & Gamble and Samsung.