Visa Teams With NFL to Push New Online-Payment Service

Checkout Cited as 'A Top Marketing Priority' in North America

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Cardinal's Receiver Larry Fitzgerald appears in Visa's ad.
Cardinal's Receiver Larry Fitzgerald appears in Visa's ad.

Visa is teaming up with retailers and the National Football League for one of its largest product pushes in recent history. The campaign to get consumers behind Visa's new online-payment service – Visa Checkout - includes a TV spot featuring top NFL players, promotions during Fox's halftime show, and the launch of "Footballentine's Day," a made-up holiday for fans and their loved ones.

"It's arguably one of the biggest pushes that Visa has made," said Chris Curtin, chief digital officer at Visa, who said that Checkout is one of the brand's top marketing priorities in North America.

Visa Checkout is a web and mobile-payment solution that aims to make online payments as simple as swiping a credit card. The service, which replaced the digital wallet, works with retailers and financial institutions to make online and mobile payments easier for consumers, who sign up to make payments with a few clicks. It launched in mid-July and is accepted or is soon to be accepted by 150 internet retailers, including Neiman Marcus, Gap, United Airlines, and Staples, according to Visa's website.

The credit-card giant is hoping to spread the word about the new service and drive enrollment by timing the campaign with the start of the football season. A teaser trailer for Visa Checkout launched during the NFL kickoff game Sept. 4 on NBC Thursday and Visa will promote the product during Fox's halftime show for much of the season. "We're using the NFL as just the biggest stage from which to advertise and market and promote something in the fall," said Mr. Curtin. "They're a perfect partner."

The campaign officially kicks off on Sept. 6 with "Footballentine's Day," where fans who sign up with Visa Checkout can send their loved ones free flowers as thanks for supporting them during the upcoming football season. Visa partnered with 1-800-Flowers for the promotion. It also enlisted model Brooklyn Decker to spread the word with promotional events in New York City on Sept. 3.

The push includes two TV spots that play on the idea that mobile users often multitask and prefer one-hand accessible sites, said Mr. Curtin. "One-Handed Catch," which breaks during the game on Sept. 14, features NFL receiver Larry Fitzgerald using Visa Checkout to pay on his mobile phone while catching passes from quarterbacks Drew Brees, Colin Kaepernick and Andrew Luck. Another spot with surfer Kolohe Andino will air Sept. 7. BBDO is the lead agency on the push; MRY handled some of the digital work on the campaign.

Visa hopes its consumers will have fun with the campaign, said Mr. Curtin. "This product is aimed at making peoples' lives a little bit easier, little bit simpler, and little more gratifying and rewarding. We wanted the marketing itself to have that same vibe," he said. "A lot of the creative is designed to put a smile on your face."

The brand is also pairing with Pizza Hut – which accepts Visa Checkout – for a pizza giveaway later this fall. Pizza Hut's CMO Carrie Walsh said consumers are already using the service more than expected.

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