Visa Introduces Global Advertising Campaign With 'Glocal' Approach

Q&A With Antonio Lucio, Chief Marketing Officer, Visa

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YORK, Pa. ( -- Antonio Lucio was an October subject of Ad Age's "CMO Interview." But that was just 10 months after he had taken on the global role, and only weeks after an incumbent-only review consolidated its marketing and advertising into a single ad-agency network, TBWA Worldwide.

Antonio Lucio, Visa's global CMO
Antonio Lucio, Visa's global CMO
Since then, he and his team have launched Visa's first global themed campaign, " More People Go With Visa." The campaign launched about three months ago in 48 countries and within a three-week window.

We caught up with Mr. Lucio in New York, and he caught us up to date on the campaign, global strategy and the agency relationship.

Ad Age: What was the strategy behind the new global "Go" campaign from TBWA Worldwide?

Mr. Lucio: Since October, I have to say there was never a better time to go global than now. This gave us the opportunity to refocus our business overall behind those true drivers of growth,and, within the context of a new strategic framework, to be able to address by area of the world, those key product-driven opportunities for growth. Re-focusing was an important part of this exercise. The second part of it is a movement toward rational and relevant communication. From a consumer standpoint we are paying the price of the age of desire, where dreams came true just for the sheer will of wanting something. To now, having the obligation to provide a proof for each promise. To reground all our communications strategy in the rational is important.

Ad Age: Can you give some examples of different focuses around the world?

Mr. Lucio: We launched the "Go" campaign with a thematic anthem spot that was going to receive less than 20% of all of our media support. Eighty percent had to be devoted to rational proof points of the brand promise. We grouped the different countries so that we were able to leverage production schedules.

Debit is a priority for us in many countries. Spots were developed in the U.S. which are great for when you already have a developed debit base and you want customers to use it more frequently. That is the case in other countries, like Brazil. But we have other countries like Canada and Australia, where Visa is launching a debit card for the very first time and there is competition against a local entrenched competitor.

Ad Age: Any places around the world where it's been particularly successful or particularly challenging?

Mr. Lucio: We were incredibly surprised with the success of the campaign in Russia, which was a big concern at the beginning. "Go" was not translating very well within the Russian language, so a lot of local adaptation was required. There are about 20 words in the Russian language that could imply the "go" message. [But] Russia is delivering some of the highest equity growth and brand links scores that we've seen. That was a big surprise. Mexico has also worked really well. The U.S. has worked really well, too, in terms of the understanding and relevance of the message.

A market like Brazil has required a lot of explanations and work. Although all the KPIs are pointing in the right direction, that's one market where we're going to need to do much more local approach to ensure that the message resonates, particularly with the debit consumer in Brazil.

Ad Age: Is that why it works? The global-local balance you're striking?

Mr. Lucio: We call it "glocal." To use Larry Light's McDonald's analogy, from the get-go this was a campaign that was supposed to provide freedom within a framework -- a very tight framework. Remember, we went from no synergies to getting significant synergies.

Ad Age: So this is the way to go global? Because there's a lot of talk that with things like geotargeting and one-to-one marketing that the idea of a big global message is less necessary or even antiquated.

Mr. Lucio: Marketers like to split things, and put them into nice little buckets. The truth of the matter is you have -- at the same time -- forces that are pushing globalism and forces that are pushing localism. And they both interact.

Ad Age: How do you continue to decide in each country what's the right mix of local, regional and global messages?

Mr. Lucio: The first thing is what are those country's key revenue driver priorities. ... then what is the consumer barrier we need to overcome in order to bring them into the electronic payment world? That will create the strategy. Then the next thing is, is this situation similar or different to some of the ones that we are experiencing around the world? And that's where the decision of going global or going local was made.

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