Monday, September 24, 2007

VISA's Celebrity Ads

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Celebrity endorsement in advertising (and sometimes PR) is one of the oldest tricks in the book. Since time immemorial, companies have relied on the household recognition, reach and popularity of movie stars, singers, TV actors and sport heroes to gain mileage in the marketing game.

Of all the celebrity commercials out there, the most memorable in my opinion belong to VISA. Few companies have managed to do it with as much style, panache and class as the world's largest payment processor. And I have seen plenty of poorly conceived celebrity ads in my lifetime, especially those slimming ones by whats-its-name beauty parlour.

What strikes me most in VISA's effective use of stars is how they are always portrayed in character, yet with clear visual clues that it is the VISA credit card which "saves the day". Of course, the brilliant cinematography (many of their ads are shot on film), authentic sets and clever acting also helps to move viewers. After all, advertising is all about making an emotional connection.

The most recent example is of course Jackie Chan, whose appearance is linked to VISA sponsoring the upcoming Beijing Olympics in 2008. Here is a television/ movie commercial featuring the world's most famous kung fu star together with Yao Ming, who is probably the most bankrolled Chinese sports star.



Another memorable one is this playful ditty featuring Pierce Brosnan as James Bond as well as Zhang Ziyi, with a tuk tuk rider from hell.



My personal favourite is probably this one featuring Richard Gere in India. It has a nice moral ring to it while being true to Richard Gere's own philanthropic nature.



Have you seen a good celebrity commercial lately?
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