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Dean witter, Discover & Co.'s Discover Card reached its 10th birthday this year, a decade after skeptics dismissed its ambitious challenge to Visa, MasterCard and American Express.

Sticking to its revolutionary value-positioning formula of no annual fee plus 1% cash back to consumers on their charges, Discover is breaking new ground by sponsoring events such as concerts to embed itself in consumers' lifestyles.

"We want to stand for American music, which is one of the most powerful influences on individual customers. We want to be where they are, where they spend leisure time, and to be part of their lives," says Robert E. Wood, a former Sears Merchandise Group executive who became exec VP of marketing and advertising for Discover in the fall of 1994.

This year Discover became exclusive sponsor of the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences' Grammy Festival, consisting of more than 100 concerts and events in major cities, including grass-roots music education programs in schools nationwide.

Last year Discover's earnings were a record $446.9 million, an increase of 8% over the previous year. Discover continues to hammer away with its diehard themeline, "It pays to Discover," in distinctive white-background TV campaign; the card has branched into more integrated marketing and sponsorships.

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