Visa makes successful bid to be 'champion of local shops'

Adwatch: financial brand gives itself low-profile role in heart-warming ad.

Visa: strives to be everyman champion of local shops
Visa: strives to be everyman champion of local shops

Who watches TV any more?

Not me. Maybe a glance at News at Ten. Otherwise terrestrial is by accident as I look for the football or the latest box set.

We’re changing our shopping habits as well. It’s so much easier online. Why bother actually trudging to all those shops? Takes so long; often disappoints.

Well, that’s exactly what I thought, until late last year we moved out to the country. Turns out shopping in a small market town is an immense pleasure.

People have time for you, are pleased to see you, are unfailingly attentive and polite. There is a real sense of community, of people together getting on with life. 

That’s why this commercial from Visa struck home. 

We see a series of small-scale shopkeepers singing to Queen’s Somebody to Love, plaintively asking just that – send me customers because I am ready with my heart and soul and product to serve them. Whatever it is – books, records, groceries, picture framing, flowers and so on.

The central idea – that there are some real people waiting to help you on the high street – makes total sense to me now and I could not help feeling a little more committed to the idea of shopping local. 

And I like the involving mystery of the ad. It does not spoon-feed you; rather, it gets and holds your attention as the story unfolds.

Does it work for Visa? It’s billed as a Christmas message, which perhaps allowed the length to get to 60 seconds and the tone to be more emotional.

The endline is "Visa. Everywhere you want to be. #WhereYouShopMatters". Visa takes a low profile in the ad, rather like its role in life. Perhaps branding could be stronger, although I know how hard this can be without getting heavy-handed.

If Visa wants to appear as the everyman champion of local shops, this is a good totem pole. Needs follow-through to really bite, though.

TV ads 4-24 November 2019. Adwatch research is conducted via an internet omnibus survey among 1,000 adults in Great Britain, aged 16-64, through Research Express, part of Kantar TNS, one of the world’s leading data, insight and consulting agencies. Data supplied by Nielsen

Steve Hastings is planning partner at Isobel

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