BRAND SPEND ANALYSIS: The Morgan Stanley Dean Witter ad strategy aims to lure upmarket consumers

It’s not about grouting or propping up your wobbly table, this campaign is all about muscling in on a competitive market.

It’s not about grouting or propping up your wobbly table, this

campaign is all about muscling in on a competitive market.

US credit card giant Morgan Stanley Dean Witter (which previously issued

cards under the Discover brand) has entered the UK credit card market

with a major advertising push across most media, spending over pounds 1

million in the first week of September alone and with a likely overall

launch spend of more than pounds 10 million.

Media owners will be pleased to see this new entrant. Other US card

issuers, such as MBNA and Bank One, spend more than pounds 35 million a

year on advertising, so MSDW’s spend is no one-off.

The campaign kicked off with a series of teaser press ads on 26 August

asking readers, ’Has your credit card just expired?’ and inviting them

to see the Sunday press for details.

When the main press creative appeared, it used the same strapline but

also summarised the main benefits of the card: no annual fee, an

introductory balance transfer rate of 6.9 per cent and a cashback bonus

of up to 1 per cent. Two further press executions subsequently


MSDW spent a sizeable pounds 647,000 on press advertising: pounds

297,364 in August and pounds 350,460 in September.

The choice of publications clearly reflected the company’s desire to

target an upmarket audience. No press ads were placed in The Sun, The

Mirror or their Sunday equivalents, while a huge 29 per cent of spend

went on the Financial Times. The Sunday Times picked up 15 per cent, The

Mail on Sunday 10.8 per cent, The Sunday Express landed 9.6 per cent,

The Sunday Telegraph 8.9 per cent and The Observer 7.3 per cent.

The press work was supported by two 30-second TV executions breaking on

Carlton on 31 August and Central on 1 September. These were followed by

three ads on Channel 5 on 8 September. In the first seven days of the

month, MSDW spent more than pounds 620,000 on TV advertising alone, and

with the campaign continuing throughout September, the total TV spend

exceeded pounds 1.5 million.

This is an unusual step for an entrant into the credit card market. Card

issuers such as MBNA, Capital One and Bank One have tended to make heavy

use direct mail. TV has traditionally been the domain of mainstream card

companies such as Barclaycard.

The launch was also supported by posters on London buses and the


Full details of the poster spend across all media will be available at

the end of October.

WWAV Rapp Collins has been appointed to handle a pounds 5 million direct

mail campaign and the agency hopes to target ten million homes. It is

also handling the loose press insert campaign.

The creative is memorable, the spend is big and the product looks

competitive - the campaign looks likely to be a big success.

Research by Media Monitoring Services, tel: 01763-245151

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