Bolt Fronts Visa Europe WC Work & Samba Celebrations Lead Its Global Campaign

Visa splits its international World Cup activation between a Bolt-Fronted European campaign and a global web hub initiative focusing on international samba celebrations.


While local markets run individual competitions primarily across social platforms.


Visa Europe is another Brazil 2014 sponsor fronting its international (Europe and beyond) World Cup activation with its star athlete ambassador, except the payments’ brand’s big name stands out from the commercial crowd for not being a footballer – it is, of course, Usain Bolt.


The FIFA global partner sponsor kicks off its World Cup work with a 22-market spearhead TV spot featuring Bolt racing from his home in Jamaica to the tournament in Brazil. He learns Portuguese and dances the samba en route to the Maracana where he finally morphs into a soccer player.



The commercial, which is part of the brand’s Visa Golden Space initiative, features the company’s pan European ‘Life Flows Faster With Visa’ tagline  and its message focuses on the ‘speed’ of Visa’s services.


The TV work is supported by localised social platforms promoting not only the speed of Visa’s products, but also its primary platform for Visa’s World Cup ticket competition.


This supporting strand sees Visa ramp up its use of social platforms – including Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Tumblr – to promote the competitions and more clearly highlight the benefits of its products.


This increased social investment reflects Visa’s global move towards more integrated media planning which have seen it invest between 30% and 40% of campaign budgets in digital and mobile channels.


Promotions vary according to which Visa products are in each market, but much of the budget is focusing on contactless, online payments and digital wallet.


The payments giant’s range of local market ticket competitions offer World Cup related prizes from collectables to grand prize VIP Brazil trips.


The latter offers Visa competition and lucky draw winners VIP trips to the tournament for two that typically include a pair of tickets, return flights, hotel accommodation, Visa gift cards and unique match-day experiences that range from walking down the players’ tunnel, to a close-up view of the players warming up, or even going pitch-side at half time.


These local market competition campaign strands stretch from a tie-in with retailer Tesco in the UK, a TV ad led promotion in Kenya,



to an shopping led initiative in Singapore’s Changi Airport.


In other regions outside, Visa has been activating its World Cup through other non-Bolt campaigns.


For example, its pre-tournament Americas #WelcomeToBrazil Twitter led campaign saw the brand use well known TV and movie franchises – such as The Simpsons and Star Wars – to engage with younger audiences.


Executions depict standard pre-match football team photo, but instead of players they feature a cast of familiar characters.


Connecting with youthful demographics is particularly important when targeting Latinos – particularly in the USA where the average Latino age is 27 and where it is the fastest growing segment (and one which is ahead of the curve in adopting technology and social media).


While its central US and other global market World Cup work, running under its umbrella ‘Everywhere You Want To Be’ tagline, revolves around a web hub at www.worldcup.visa.com and explores World Cup ‘Celebrations’.


The idea is that whilst the matches are played in Brazil, people all around the planet are celebrating the World Cup in their own style.


The campaign’s content includes sending 32 film makers to 32 different countries around the world to see how that market’s culture celebrates the tournament with their own music and dancing led take on Brazil’s ‘Samba celebration’.


Thus it includes ‘England’s Samba’,



the ‘USA’s Samba’,



and ‘Spain’s Samba’



and so on.


It also introduces its set of ‘Visa Fanbassadors’, one from each competing nation, who act as insider fans take consumers onto a global journey of celebrations around the world


This global site also includes a World Cup ‘Teletransporter’ which enables users to paste a photo of their own face onto players bodies in classic, famous, World Cup scenes from Heguita’s famous ‘Scorpion Save’ to Bebeto’s iconic ‘Baby Swing’ goal celebration.




Visa are hoping that Manchester United fan Bolt brings ‘clarity’ and ‘excitement’ to the marketing of its products and services around the World Cup.


The creative approach, theme and messaging follows a similar path to its IOC Olympic sponsor activation at London 2012.


See case study.


For a track athlete Bolt already has strong football marketing heritage. He may be excited about this year’s World Cup, but it was back in 2012 that his soccer skills were first showcased to the world during downtime while shooting an ad.


The rare off-set footage was, as everything is these days, captured on video and was posted on YouTube where it became something of an online sensation.


Since then, Bolt has made no secret of his love for the game: regularly visiting his favourite team Man Utd, hinting he’d like to play for them when he retires from track and field.



Visa is also hoping to learn lessons from the criticism it received at London 2012 for preventing fans from using other cards and thus making the property experience harder rather than easier for supporters and consumers.


The brand admits that ‘the criticisms we faced around the London 2012 Games was an area that we could have been clearer about in terms of communications’ and says that the World Cup is going to be a different experience and it is focusing on communicating what the partner actually brings to the tournament.


Visa itself relatively recently signed a sponsorship extension to its FIFA partnership securing global marketing rights and product category exclusivity for the next two World Cups.


Visa first signed up as a FIFA sponsor back in 2007 and first activated its global sponsorship rights at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.


The new agreement will see the payments brand sponsor the 2018 World Cup in Russia and the 2022 World Cup in Qatar – as well as 40-plus other FIFA events scheduled throughout that period.


Visa hope the FIFA rights will allow its business and extend value and benefits to various stakeholders around the world via marketing programmes that drive brand preference and product usage.


‘With football’s unique power to inspire people everywhere, Visa couldn’t be more excited to extend its relationship with FIFA,’ commented Ricardo Fort, SVP Global Sponsorship Marketing at Visa.


‘Our association with the Fifa World Cup and the entire portfolio of Fifa events differentiates our brand and allows us to offer unique opportunities to our clients around the world.’


‘We’re delighted to have reached this agreement with our valued partner, Visa,’ said FIFA president Blatter.


‘Visa’s huge global network and engaging consumer programmes play a significant role in bringing the Fifa World Cup to all corners of the globe, and we’re delighted to have such a strong global brand by our side until at least 2022.’


Visa is the fifth of Fifa’s Commercial Affiliates to have committed to both the 2018 and 2022 World Cups: the others include adidas, Coca-Cola, Hyundai-Kia and Anheuser-Busch InBev.




Visa Bolt World Cup TVC YouTube



Visa Golden Space Website



Visa Golden Space Twitter



Visa World Cup Website



Visa Brand Facebook



Visa Brand YouTube



Brazil 2014 World Cup Website



FIFA Website



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