Visa shifts focus from Usain Bolt to old man with new Flow Faster ad

Visa Europe is making an old man rather than athletes the star of its latest evolution of its 'Flow Faster' ad campaign, which will launch across 19 European countries tomorrow.

Visa: latest Flow Faster ad focuses on brand's various payment technologies
Visa: latest Flow Faster ad focuses on brand's various payment technologies

While the overall message is similar to last year's Olympic-led campaign starring Usain Bolt, which was the first to feature the 'Flow Faster' message, Visa's new ad stars an old man racing to the birth of his grandchild.

Colin Clarke, senior vice-president of brand management at Visa Europe, said: "The idea of 'Flow' is really just to say that Visa’s role for consumers is to allow them to buy what they want without any hassle and without having to stop what they’re doing.

"Last year, there was a bit more emphasis on speed, partly due to the connection with Usain and the Olympics, and while the overall message this year is the same, tonally we're trying to do that with a different energy.

"We have a very democratic way of doing what we’re doing – we don’t discriminate against anybody. Equally, it's not us forcing [these new products] on people – we're still happy to show chip-and-pin payments alongside these new technologies, which are there for everyone to use."

The ad, which is played out to the Queen track 'Don't Stop Me Now', shows the old man gradually becoming younger and more energetic through the use of Visa's different payment technologies, including online, contactless, chip and pin, and mobile contactless.

It concludes with the endline, "Feel Faster, Flow Faster with Visa", although Clarke said there were no plans to use the phrase on an ongoing basis.

He said: "'Life Flows Better with Visa' is still our overall brand line."

The multi-channel campaign, which was developed by Saatchi & Saatchi, Traktor and MEC, will feature TV, digital and out-of-home elements and is expected to reach around 300 million adults across Europe.

It is intended to encourage card holders to think beyond traditional payment methods, either by paying for things in a new way using Visa, or by trialling new technologies such as contactless, mobile and e-commerce payments.

Clarke said: "Last year was a real step forwards in terms of showcasing innovation and beginning to lay the groundwork for consumer understanding of those products.

"The truth with any new technology is that it's always going to take a long time to establish, but there were 5.3 million contactless transactions in the UK in March 2013 and there’s a view that we’re reaching a tipping point."

Key markets in which the campaign will run include the UK, France, Poland, Spain, Italy and Germany, and each market's campaign will be versioned to reflect the deployment of new payment technologies in that country.

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