If you watched the Olympics, you’ve seen Visa’s pervasive Go World ads.
Morgan Freeman‘s distinctive voice always grabs me, but the relevance and timeliness of the ads have kept my attention.
Here’s the ad Visa ran immediately after Michael Phelps won his unprecedented 8th Gold Medal.
Each Visa ad has closed with the following line:
Proud sponsor of the Olympic Games.
And the only card accepted there.
Visa’s exclusive arrangement lets them say as much in all their advertising, and a high percentage of the people attending the games sign up for a new card. Of course, Visa’s exclusivity also means if you want to use a credit card when you are there, it can only be a Visa.
And that’s the problem.
Not everyone that goes to the games realizes their AMEX, Mastercard or other competing card will be useless. Those without a Visa are forced to use often expensive exchange options and deal with all the hassles of working with foreign currency.
Rohit Barghava is blogging from Beijing and believes Visa’s exclusivity strategy is backfiring:
The end result is lots of negative experiences and consumer anger against Visa, including several people I spoke to who even said they would NOT get a new Visa card because of this tactic. The incremental sales and revenue for Visa cards at the Games may be good, but the word of mouth generated for Visa at the world’s largest sporting event is nearly all negative.
Given the above, do you believe Visa’s sponsorship of the 2008 Beijing Olympics is responsible or not?
Comment below to weigh in.