See the Spot: Visa Takes Roundabout Route to the Olympics

A Sponsor of the Games for 30 Years, Brand Includes Athletes Like Missy Franklin and Carli Lloyd in BBDO-Created Spot

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The Olympic Games may still be over month away, but Visa is ready. The payments company rolled out its campaign on Monday with a 105-second anthem spot featuring more than 20 Visa-sponsored Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls taking a road trip to the competition in Rio de Janiero, Brazil. Athletes from around the world, including Missy Franklin, Carli Lloyd and Kerri Walsh Jennings, are shown meeting up and driving in a van to the games. The commercial makes a point of illustrating the various payment methods the sports stars use along the way.

"As athletes 'round the world swim, hurdle, run and bike their way to Rio, they choose Visa—the only way to click, swipe, dip and tap at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games," Morgan Freeman's voiceover says.

Visa also plans to run three additional "Carpool" spots with brand partners Best Buy, Costco and United Airlines. The company will host a bevy of activations in Rio, including a ring that functions as a payment tool.

Lynne Biggar, Foster City, Calif.-based Visa's newly appointed executive VP, chief marketing and communications officer, noted in a statement that the spot's payment technology acceptance is a larger metaphor for global inclusivity.

Visa, which spent $113 million on measured media in the U.S. in 2014, according to the Ad Age Datacenter, worked with BBDO on the campaign. The payments company has been a sponsor of the Olympic Games for three decades.

Despite a host of fears including the mosquito-transmitted Zika virus and political unrest surrounding this year's games, many U.S. marketers have remained steadfast in their advertising plans. Coca Cola recently told Ad Age that it has made no changes to its hospitality plans, though some Brazilian-based brands have organized Zika awareness educational campaigns.