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Visa hopes to cash in on World Cup fever

03-March-2007
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Visa hopes to cash in on World Cup fever

Focus on building brand loyalty, reinforcing leadership

For brand connect

* Visa initiatives include a blog (inspireindia.in), an `Inspire India' song on radio and a TV commercial.

* Hopes the `emotional upswing' will better business.

* Visa has 50 million cardholders in India.

Visa, the regional sponsor of World Cup 2007, hopes to make a positive brand connect with its marketing activities for the tournament. Its initiatives include a blog (inspireindia.in), an `Inspire India' theme song on radio and a television commercial.

While the song — composed and sung by the music director trio Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy — was launched on Radio Mirchi on Friday, the television commercial, produced by RK Swamy BBDO (with music by the trio again and starring the 1983 World Cup heroes Mohinder Amarnath, Syed Kirmani and Kris Srikanth), will be telecast coinciding with the start of the World Cup in West Indies. The blog is already operational.

Says Mr Rajiv Kapoor, Executive Vice-President-Marketing, Asia Pacific Region, Visa International, "The World Cup is not just an event for us. We see it more as a sporting paradigm that will help reinforce our business leadership in the category and build brand loyalty and awareness. Our association with cricket this year began with the Champions Trophy as a warm-up, with a culmination in the West Indies."

Mr Kapoor says Visa is looking to "create a linkage with cardholders" by cashing in on the "emotional upswing" and sense of "pride and optimism" associated with the World Cup. He hopes there will be a positive rub-off effect on Visa's business.

India is one of our top 12 markets, with the US being the biggest, says Mr Kapoor. According to Mr Santanu Mukherjee, Country Manager, South Asia, "We are very bullish on India. We have been growing 50 per cent year-on-year for the last 5-7 years."

Visa has 50 million cardholders in India; there are 42 banks in its fold in the country. Globally, there are over a billion Visa cards in circulation. Last year, the total value (retail purchase using Visa cards plus cash withdrawals at ATMs) in India amounted to $30 billion, against a global value of $4.5 trillion.

The alliance with the World Cup is in line with Visa's global brand strategy to be associated with sports and entertainment.

It has tie-ups with Sony Entertainment and Disney through its `Visa Entertainment' property. Visa has also been part of the Olympics for 20 years now.

For the Beijing Olympics 2008, it will come out with a "relevant" television commercial in India.

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