Visa hits the ice with NHL for bizarro skills competition

Online videos promote credit card company's payWave fast payment system

The “fastest game on Earth” has partnered with Visa Canada to promote the credit card company’s fast payment system, payWave.

As part of a new campaign to promote the touch-less payment system, Visa worked with the NHL and the NHLPA to create a series of YouTube videos that are a fun variation on the NHL All-Star Game’s annual skills competition.

In one video, for example, Minnesota Wild defenseman Ryan Suter and Edmonton Oilers’ forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins must use the Visa payWave system to pay for a basket of pucks and then shoot them at four fruit “targets” placed in a net. The first player to hit all four fruits wins the challenge.

Visa is releasing the first four videos – including “consequence videos” featuring the loser being forced to endure some embarrassment at the hands of his competitor – this week, with more to follow. All of the videos, created by BBDO Toronto, were filmed in Columbus just prior to January’s NHL All-Star Game.

The videos are housed on Visa Canada’s YouTube channel and being promoted via the NHL’s social media assets – where the league has 6.8 million followers on Twitter and Facebook.

Helena Tigert, Visa’s head of consumer credit marketing, said the videos – which are all about 60 seconds in length – are targeting on-the-go mobile consumers who are the target for the payWave system. They are designed to create a link in consumers’ minds between the speed of NHL hockey and the speed of its payment system.

The campaign is aimed at consumers already familiar with the payWave option to remind them that it can be used to speed up even everyday purchases. According to Visa, payWave transactions tripled year over year (June 2014 versus June 2014), with seven transactions every second in Canada based on average monthly payWave transactions between April and June of last year. All of the communications use the hashtag #PayWaveFast.

The NHL has also created a series of 15-second “fastest” game highlights that will run in tandem with the videos and underscore the quickness of the payWave system.

Laurie Kepron, the NHL’s vice-president of integrated marketing, said the NHL’s fanbase, which tends to skew slightly towards male with an average age of 35 and a high household income, aligns well with Visa’s target.

The campaign is representative of the type of work the league is trying to accomplish for its marketing partners, she said. “I enjoy the strategic positioning of the campaign and the thought behind it, and the ability to layer in the assets that we bring,” said Kepron. “It’s really having our assets work very hard for Visa and amplify their message.”

Visa has been a league sponsor since 2008, kicking off a new five-year deal with the league in July. Tigert said awareness of Visa as an NHL sponsor has grown “significantly,” with a 5% increase in aided awareness in the past season, according to research by Charlton Research commissioned by Visa.

“In our opinion [the NHL] is a premiere sponsorship property in Canada, so it’s a great partnership for us,” she said. “What we find from our research is that the more consumers are aware of our sponsorship with the NHL, the better our brand equity metrics perform.

“We know that when our campaigns are strongly linked to the NHL, it really helps us deliver strong engagement and breakthrough with our product message.”


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