Visa is a long-time sponsor of the Olympic Games. For the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games, Visa raised its profile even further by integrating its brand and content throughout Yahoo!’s coverage of the Games.
Visa has a long history with the Olympic Games, serving as its exclusive, worldwide payment services sponsor since 1986. Joseph Saunders, CEO and President of Visa, explains “The Olympic Games transcend political and geographical boundaries to deliver incomparable international exposure and broad-based audience interest appealing to virtually every demographic.”1
Whether it’s the Internet or television, surfers and viewers alike tune in to consume the latest Olympic Games content, but not necessarily to engage with advertisements. Visa therefore sought to convey its “Go World” message during the Winter Games in a highly integrated and creative format that connected and engaged with consumers.
As a part of its overall marketing mix, Visa turned to Yahoo!, for its reach, scale and creativity in providing Olympics information. More than 32 million visitors came to Yahoo!’s Olympics site to connect with its original and unique coverage of the Games.2 Visa’s agencies OMD and AKQA worked with Yahoo! to help Visa actively engage with this massive audience by closely aligning Yahoo!’s rich content with several creative executions:
- Yahoo! home page editorial promotion
- Medal count
- Customized athletes section
- Yahoo! Sports store and Visa cardholder discount
- Yahoo! Mobile
Yahoo! Home Page Editorial Promotion
Visa tapped Yahoo!’s in-depth editorial pieces to drive traffic to its sponsored pages. One of the great stories came from the ski slopes: Yahoo! writers not only reported the Downhill results from Lindsey Vonn and Visa athlete Julia Mancuso’s quest for multiple medals, but they also focused on their roads to the Olympics and their intense rivalry. For further engagement, links within the story brought readers to athlete bio pages supported by Visa’s brand.
Visa achieved both reach and scale by owning the medal count section, which tallied each country’s results in the Games. The medal count was often featured on the Yahoo! home page and nearly every page of Yahoo! Sports and the Yahoo! Olympic Games site, further increasing visibility for Visa’s sponsorship.
Customized Athletes Section
Yahoo! worked with Visa to include original content on five of Visa’s sponsored athletes. These pages contained photos and videos that featured the athletes’ back stories and training regimens. Like the editorial pieces, this type of content painted a richer picture of the Olympic Games and brought fans closer to Vancouver. Visa’s brand was seamlessly integrated throughout these pages with customized gutter and header ads.
Custom Integration into Yahoo! Sports Store and Visa Cardholder Discount
Visa’s association with Olympic content spread awareness of its brand, but the payment services company also used the Yahoo! Sports store to encourage customers to use their Visa cards to purchase Olympic merchandise by offering a special 10 percent discount. This custom integration provided a tangible call to action, and continued the theme of Olympic engagement by giving fans a chance to own a piece of history.
To reach on-the-go consumers, Visa mirrored its Olympic presence on Yahoo! Mobile with a seamless experience that included the medal count, customized athlete pages and other media.
During the campaign, Yahoo! helped Visa reach a massive audience, with more than 216 million impressions, exceeding its goal by over 50 percent. The audience was also highly engaged, spending 314 million minutes on Yahoo!’s Olympic site. Visa extended its reach into mobile with more than 1.3 million unique visitors.3
The scale and engagement success translated into consumers using their Visa card in the Yahoo! Sports store. Over 60% of purchases made in the store were made with a Visa card.
“We were able to reach a massive Olympic audience with Yahoo!,” says Jennifer Bazante, head of global sponsorship marketing at Visa. “But more importantly, we were able to do it in an integrated, engaging and unique format.”
About Visa: Visa is a global payments technology company that connects consumers, businesses, financial institutions and governments in more than 200 countries and territories to fast, secure and reliable digital currency. Underpinning digital currency is one of the world’s most advanced processing networks—VisaNet—that is capable of handling more than 10,000 transactions a second, with fraud protection for consumers and guaranteed payment for merchants. Visa is not a bank, and does not issue cards, extend credit or set rates and fees for consumers. Visa’s innovations, however, enable its financial institution customers to offer consumers more choices: Pay now with debit, ahead of time with prepaid or later with credit products.
About OMD: With over 140 offices in over 80 countries, OMD is one of the world’s foremost media communications specialists.
About AKQA: AKQA is an independent, ideas-led agency that helps its clients with Internet and digital marketing services.
1 http://corporate.visa.com/_media/olympic-games-media-kit/visa-and-the-olympic-games.pdf; 2 Comscore March 2010; 3 Comscore March 2010
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