Visa Canada and BBDO talk ‘Smallenfreuden’ phase two

After launching a much-discussed teaser campaign, the marketing team at Visa Canada is now tasked with turning “smallenfreuden”‘s  buzz and intrigue into a long-term success for the brand. Visa Canada and its agencies BBDO and Proximity, launched a week-long teaser campaign with no mention of its brand in early May. Billboards asked simply “Do you […]

After launching a much-discussed teaser campaign, the marketing team at Visa Canada is now tasked with turning “smallenfreuden”‘s  buzz and intrigue into a long-term success for the brand.

Visa Canada and its agencies BBDO and Proximity, launched a week-long teaser campaign with no mention of its brand in early May. Billboards asked simply “Do you #smallenfreuden?” The campaign garnered over 900 social media mentions, 400,000 views on an unbranded “smallenfreuden” YouTube video and a refreshed debate about the value of teaser campaign in the Canadian ad industry. Smallenfreuden is a portmanteau meaning, “the joy of small,” designed to get Visa customers to think of their credit cards differently and to nudge them towards using Visa for small, every day purchases.

Brenda Woods, head of marketing at Visa Canada, said she views the teaser campaign as “pre-awareness generation,” and a worthy investment that created a captive audience ready to receive a brand message. Though she acknowledged the debate over the value of a teaser campaign, she said she’s pleased with the attention the ads have received in the lead up to the reveal.

“[The goal] was to get people talking about the idea, to make people familiar with the word, so when we talking about what it really means, there was already a high level of interest,” Woods said. “We viewed it as a way to kick-start the campaign, to really fuel it.”

Peter Ignazi, executive creative director BBDO Proximity, said because “smallenfreuden” is such a strange word, it made sense to introduce it first and the brand second. He noted there have been very few teaser campaigns in recent years and speculated many think they have less impact in an era of “instant comprehension,” in which every answer is a single Google query away.

“We looked at it from the opposition standpoint. If we deliberately don’t let people find out what something is in the age [when] they can find out what [everything] is, they’re going to be even more intrigued.”

On May 10, the brand revealed itself on Twitter, in a press and through a TV spot that featured a couple discussing a “smallenfreuden” purchase of a drink at a hockey game. The ad is playing frequently during the NHL playoffs.

OMD handled the media buy for the campaign, which in its current second phase includes a national TV spot, a contest, online banner ads and paid social on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

Post-reveal, Woods said much of the campaign’s focus is on Visa’s popular Facebook page (it has 4.8 million fans). BBDO and Proximity created a Facebook app that will show two “smallenfreuden moments” – small moments that made a big difference during a playoff game – and ask fans to vote on their favourite.

It’s also using Facebook to promote “The Visa Ultimate NHL Experience Contest” for a trip for four to both the NHL Winter Classic and the NHL Stanley Cup final cardholders are entered in every time they make a small (less than $100) purchase on their Visa.

Because it’s playoff season and Visa is an official sponsor of the NHL, much of the campaign is linked to hockey. In addition to the billboards, the buzz was helped along by its partnership with CBC and TSN, including space on the bottom third of the screen during sports news broadcasts reading “What is Smallenfreuden?” Though Woods said it was not part of the agreement, TSN’s anchors also joked about “smallenfreuden” on air, resulting in a YouTube clip that has received over 1,300 views.

Woods said this is a long-term concept. The goal of the “smallenfreuden” concept is to “create a movement” around the idea of small joys that can later be incorporated in marketing for other products, like Visa payWave, a functionality that lets card holders pay by tapping their cards on payment terminals.

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