This first-quarter commercial for Visa by BBDO New York starred rookie NBA phenom Yao Ming, who had made his U.S. professional debut just three months earlier but already delivered enough cultural wattage to warrant a pricey Super Bowl slot.
At the time, the credit card company was busily enlisting sports figures like the 7’ 6” center, Tiki and Ronde Barber (who starred in Visa's second Super Bowl XXXVI ad), Derek Jeter, George Steinbrenner and Yogi Berra to promote the Visa Check Card.
In airing the two spots, Visa was able to carve out twice the exposure of rival MasterCard and its single 30-second investment; moreover, the Yo-Yao-Yogi ad finished No. 16 on USA Today's annual Ad Meter, not exactly the sort of showing that Ad Meter-obsessed CareerBuilder.com would brag about (see 2007's "Performance Evaluation" for the sad details) but well above MasterCard’s dead-presidents commercial.
QUARTER AIRED: Q1