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Visa flaunts Olympic sponsorship through video-heavy mobile ads

Visa is making mobile a big part of its Olympic sponsorship with an effort that encourages consumers to get involved in the social-media-driven Go World campaign.

The mobile ads are part of Visa?s huge multichannel campaign that celebrates the athletes in London as well as the company?s 25-year sponsorship of the Olympic Games. The Visa ads are running inside the IMDB mobile site.

?When developing the Go World campaign and thinking about how to launch it in the United States, the key was understanding the consumer, and mobile is increasingly where they are spending their time,? said Alex Craddock, head of North America marketing for Visa Inc., Los Angeles.

?We needed to think about mobile as a key part of the marketing mix and ensure that we use an optimized experience,? he said.

Digital cheers
The copy for the Visa mobile ad reads, ?Cheer to inspire athletes? and encourages users to tap to expand the unit.

When clicked on, a landing page is brought up that features a swipable screen with 12 different Visa-sponsored athletes from the London Olympics. Examples of athletes include Michael Phelps and Allyson Felix.

Each page includes an embedded video that users can watch to get a sneak peek into the lives of the athletes.

Video plays a large role overall in the campaign and extending content to mobile makes sense as consumers increasingly use their devices to watch content, per Mr. Craddock.

?The ability to serve up ad content, link to a video for a rich experience and then cheer for the athletes in real-time is a real opportunity and potentially very powerful,?  Mr. Craddock said.

At the bottom of the landing page, users can ?cheer? for individual athletes. Additionally, content can be shared through Facebook.

Once a user ?cheers? for an athlete, a message pops up with information on when the athlete is scheduled to compete.

The mobile ads are part of a massive multichannel campaign from Visa that centers around social media marketing on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to let users learn more about athletes and vote for their favorites. Social media sites also include Sina-Weibo for Chinese consumers and VKontakte for users in Russia.

Leading up to the kick-off of the Olympics last week, Visa claimed that 28 million ?cheers? had been generated, the company's Facebook page had generated 1.9 million "Likes? and 25.7 million campaign YouTube videos had been viewed.

The Go World campaign also includes television ads with calls-to-action that include a link to the campaign?s Facebook page.

Social is mobile
Visa is smart to push social media impressions through mobile advertising.

Social media is inherently mobile, especially around live events such as the Olympics when consumers are most likely using their devices to post to Facebook and Twitter.

Not only are consumers more apt to interact with social media through mobile while watching TV, they also want to share content to friends and family.

The Visa campaign also shows how more marketers are placing social media at the center of large-scale campaigns.

?What is great about digital and mobile is that we can get up-to-the-minute news and information,? Mr. Craddock said.

?The campaign across multiple platforms harnesses the passion that consumers have for athletes,? he said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York