April 13, 2010

VISA business BREAKTHROUGH: An ad:tech People's Choice Awards Finalist


(Please click on photo to see the campaign).

By Tim McHale, Managing Editor

With Cam Beck, Experience Planner, Click Here, Inc. & MadAveJournal Editors, Kristen Lauri, Kelly Wessel and Suzanne Jaquett.

We asked Cam Beck of Click Here Inc. and several MadAveJournal editors to review the VISA "business BREAKTHROUGH" campaign; chosen as a finalist in the ad:tech People's Choice awards.

The site's message, design, content and relevance is so in-sync with every business person's daily economic concerns that we believe it deserves to win the "Best of Show"!!!


The campaign's timing is exceptional. It's message is aspirational. In April of 2008, the world needs a business breakthrough now more than ever!

We can think of a handful of other campaigns that nailed the zeitgeist of their times so profoundly that they became a part of it. Campaigns like Coca-Cola's "It's the Real Thing" in the '60's or McDonald's "You Deserve a Break Today" in the '70's, or Wendy's "Where's the Beef?" in the 80's, or Nike's "Just Do It." in the 1990's. Those campaigns were created long before the Internet. The creative directors and copywriters worked with the tools they had at the time, be it TV, radio, print or OOH.


So did VISA. They used the Internet which, in the 21st century, reflects all these media rolled up into one... and then some. You might ask whether they were so smart to know that this effort would be as dead on as it is? We can't answer that one, but we think not.

At the time of their site's production, it's difficult to assume that they knew that the business environment would break-down, versus break-through.

They simply launched it at the right place, at the right time and with the right message. The cards broke their way, literally and perhaps figuratively. As a major financial institution, which connects with almost every other financial institution, we hope they have another card up their sleeves.

The Editors


By Cam Beck, Experience Planner, Click Here, Inc.

Balancing Video and Usability

When reviewing the effectiveness of any website, it's important to consider who the site was built for, why they came, and if the company accomplished its business goals.

The Setup

The recorded video host at the Flash-created website, VISA business BREAKTHROUGH site promises users content that will help small-business owners solve their problems in the categories of finance, marketing, organization, organization, team building, and technology.

To prove this, each section features a well-produced, quality video testimonial introduced by the video host, some high-level information about how they could help the business they highlight, in the section, and some decent articles related to the section.

Establishing the Business Purpose

Given the content of the site, then, the main business purposes of the site seem to be:

1. Establish credibility for Visa's small business service, and
2. Capture leads.


The site can be considered a success only if these two purposes were fulfilled adequately with respect to the amount spent on the effort, and if it is successful, that is a testimony beyond anything critics and admirers can add or detract.

To fulfill the first goal, Visa created an attractive layout and used high-quality video and content. Visa certainly spared no expense in production, and it represents a quantum leap in video that, until it becomes easier and less expensive to create, will be tough to beat.

The second goal is presumably handled by the contest. Though I don't know how many entries the site received, I'm sure most of the companies who went through the trouble to write a 500-word essay at the opportunity to win $10,000 do need the type of service Visa offers, which means that any leads Visa captures are not ordinary, but well-qualified ones.

A word to the wise

Research published in BtoBonline.com recently indicates that business users" appreciate being given the same high quality that a consumer would expect," but that, at the same time, they are "task driven...fairly cynical...time-starved" who are "really hunting for information online."

Did VISA successfully take into account all of their users' characteristics in this effort? Given the usability mistakes the creators made when building it, probably not completely, but given all the compromises that must be made just to get a product of such quality out the door, we can still afford to marvel at the technical success of this website to deliver high-quality video and content throughout the site, without delay.


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