Chase Makes Its Sapphire Credit Card a Star

Travel Channel Integrates Affluent Brand Into Four Shows

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NEW YORK ( -- How did Travel Channel woo Chase Card Services for a yearlong, integrated deal encompassing its four highest-rated shows and an upcoming series of co-branded events? Recognizable talent, show-specific integrations and a lot of patience.

Andrew Zimmern is among the Travel Channel talent to promote the Chase Sapphire card.
Andrew Zimmern is among the Travel Channel talent to promote the Chase Sapphire card.
Starting this week, Chase's new Sapphire card, its first proprietary rewards card for affluent consumers, will be featured in a series of on-air interstitials for Travel Channel's new "Catch It" branding campaign, and will eventually be integrated into four of the network's top series: "Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations"; "Samantha Brown's Great Weekends"; "Dhani Tackles the Globe"; and "Andrew Zimmern's Bizarre World." Beginning later in the fourth quarter, Travel Channel and Chase Sapphire will also team up for a series of events featuring network talent and promoting rewards services to Sapphire card members.

Marketers are more eager than ever to link to specific programming and ensure that their ads are seen when consumers are likely to be most engaged with a media company's content.

The wide-ranging deal, brokered by Chase's media-planning and -buying agency, Zenith Media, was 18 months in the works, said Harold Morgenstern, senior VP-ad sales for Discovery Communications, which handles ad sales for Travel Channel. "Chase wanted to be aligned with our top-tiered talent in an environment that suited their travel rewards card. They've been doing advertising with us for years, so we wanted to expand beyond the typical deal for this launch."

Not just any marketer can make sure its brand is associated with the likes of Anthony Bourdain and Samantha Brown, as Travel Channel sells its programs as part of larger run-of-schedule buys rather than show-specific ad deals.

But Joan Bassett, marketing director for Chase Sapphire, said an integrated deal was the best way to have all four Travel Channel hosts exemplify the brand attributes of the new rewards card. "Anthony Bourdain has a unique dining experience, and these consumers tend to dine out a lot, tend to be early adopters. Samantha Brown, particularly in this economy, has great weekend getaways that are unique but not necessarily totally exotic or expensive. Dhani goes on great aspirational adventures, and Andrew Zimmern's 'Bizarre World' captures the uniqueness of being passionate about dining and using those experiences to explore new places," she said.

Chase is also aggressively expanding its rewards and card-member outreach efforts in a troubled financial-services climate that has seen competitors such as Citi and American Express introducing new restrictions to their reward programs.

"We're giving card members more value and positioning Chase well for the long term," she said. "What we're seeing in our data is consumers are looking to get more out of their reward programs, looking to redeem them and expected to be rewarded more for their loyalty."

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