TIFF 2013: Visa gives cardholders celebrity status
September 05, 2013 | Carly Lewis | Comments
TIFF is well known for its star-studded red carpets, decadent events and glimpses of Hollywood royalty. So when it came time to conceptualize this year’s involvement, Visa resolved to give the people what they really want: celebrity status, if only for a night.
Visa’s festival sponsorship, much of which is reserved for Infinite cardholders, consists of gestures and contests that let customers get even closer than the front row. Its “Red Carpet Experience” offers three contest winners the chance to strut the celebrity-filled red carpet at a yet-to-be revealed festival premiere.
This year’s TIFF marks the first year Visa has activated on the red carpet like this, but Brenda Woods, head of marketing at Visa, said the festival was agreeable when it came to letting customers fuse with celebrities. “They’ve developed a good understanding of what we’re trying to accomplish with our sponsorship,” said Woods. “This is a chance to take part in what celebrities actually go through during their festival experience.”
Woods said Visa and its creative agency, BBDO, thought about “who Visa cardholders are and how they are experiencing the festival.”
In addition to the red carpet walk, Visa will also host its cardholders at two different Infinite lounges—one within the Visa Screening Room at the Elgin Theatre, plus a second pop-up lounge outside Roy Thomson Hall. Inside, Woods said the brand takes a “surprise-and-delight” approach. “We don’t advertise,” she said of lounge accoutrements. “You just go in and get it.” One of the lounge highlights is a concierge team willing to hold attendees’ spots in line while they await screenings. “We really thought about what would make the festival experience easier for cardholders,” said Woods.
The credit card company also collaborated with handbag designer Jessica Jensen on a limited edition, TIFF-inspired tote bag. The bag is available to shoppers who use their Visa at select Toronto LCBO locations between Sept. 5 and 8. From Sept. 8 to 12, tote-clad fest-goers spotted by Visa reps will be given the opportunity to win movie tickets, Kobo Arc tablets, prepaid Visa cards and other perks. (Twenty-five thousand bags will be in circulation at the festival.) “This extends the opportunity to get more things,” said Woods.
Visa will also create exclusive online content with its Red Carpet Diaries feature, which showcases exclusive interviews with and photographs of celebrities in attendance at the Visa Screening Room. The content is unique to Visa, but available to anyone. Woods said this is a way to get Visa onto the minds of not just consumers in Toronto, but people not at the festival who are paying attention from afar. “With social media now, this is a very important part of our whole campaign,” she added.
In addition to BBDO, OMD and Fleishman Hillard are handling communications. SONARmediathink will oversee on-site activations. The LCBO-Jessica Jensen tote bag promotion was handled by Ariad.