September 8, 2004, 12:00 AM

MasterCard and Visa will emphasize online payment security in new ads

A sense of security when buying online will be the theme behind upcoming promotions that Visa and MasterCard are sponsoring. Both will be promoting the idea that customer card information is safe when consumers are buying products online.

 

A sense of security when buying online will be the theme behind upcoming promotions that Visa and MasterCard are sponsoring. Both will be promoting the idea that customer card information is safe when consumers are buying products online. MasterCard will even tie its security message into its well-known "priceless" campaigns.

In a series of ads over the next few months in consumer magazines, MasterCard will use the image of a bulldog--itself a sign of security. The ads will talk about the price of the dog collar and the supper bowl while mentioning that the cost associated with the peace of mind of knowing you`re safe while shopping online with MasterCard is priceless.

Likewise, Visa ads running on Internet shopping sites will stress the zero liability to consumers associated with purchases illegally made with consumers` cards. The promotions will also push heavily the idea of signing up for the Verified by Visa program where consumers can register for a password that authenticates their identity when they shop.

Visa is relying primarily on online promotions to deliver its message. "When we started advertising the use of our card to make Internet purchases back in 1997, we relied on basic brand messages. Now as the Internet has evolved, we`ve started to promote the concept of security. Advertising online is a key component of our strategy," says Gerry Sweeney, senior vice president, product and incentive marketing at Visa USA. "We want to get to consumers at the point where they are likely to actually make a purchase."

MasterCard, by contrast, will be using both online and offline media. The association itself is focusing its ad campaign on mostly print ads today and TV promotions in the near future. At the same time, it is providing promotional material to the financial institutions that issue its cards. Most of these promotions will be made online such as on the financial institutions’ own web sites. "We expect to hit a wide variety of vehicles to get our message across," says Tom Maxwell, MasterCard director of e-business. "We`ll focus mostly on print ads now but our members will be conducting most of their promotions on the Internet." MasterCard is also starting to work with a group of merchants to offer discounts to consumers who sign up for the SecureCard program.

 

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