Visa starts $40m pan-Euro rethink

Visa International, the credit card brand, is reviewing its dollars 40 million pan-European advertising account as it seeks to heighten awareness of its name across the Continent.

Visa International, the credit card brand, is reviewing its dollars

40 million pan-European advertising account as it seeks to heighten

awareness of its name across the Continent.

Visa’s account is handled across Europe by Saatchi & Saatchi. Visa,

which is headquartered in the UK, is understood to have spoken to at

least three multinational agencies in London through the Advertising

Agency Register about the pitch. Media, with Zenith, is unaffected.

In the short term, ads are not expected to run in the UK, where Visa is

promot-ed heavily by Barclaycard.

However, the brand has been advertised independently across the rest of

Europe for the past three years.

The review comes three months after the appointment of Karen Hughes,

former account director for Procter & Gamble’s European oral healthcare

business at DMB&B, as head of brand management. Hughes replaced Adrian

New, the man responsible for Saatchis’ much-lambasted Visa Delta

’kerching’ ad starring and directed by Mel Smith.

Hughes is reviewing the business alongside Mark Giffin, Visa

International’s vice-president, advertising. Giffin refused to comment

on the review.

Although Visa is the largest credit and debit card network worldwide,

with 600 million cards in circulation, it has come under increasing

pressure in Europe from the rival brands, Mastercard and American

Express.

Recently, Visa’s relationship with some of its member banks has been

strained, with NatWest opting to offer customers Mastercard and Amex

cards, as well as Visa.

Future campaigns across Europe are expected to back Visa Cash, the

network’s answer to Mastercard’s electronic purse system, Mondex. Visa

is also understood to be dropping its debit sub-brand, Delta, in the UK

in favour of a strategy focused on the core brand. This means there will

be no successor to the ’kerching’ ads.

Derek Bowden, Saatchis’ chief executive across Europe, Africa and the

Middle East, refused to comment.

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