On day three of our business trip to Moscow, Russia, we had the rare opportunity of visiting the organizing headquarters for the Sochi Olympics 2014. The building lies in a busy part of central Moscow on a narrow offshoot from the busy main streets. Once upstairs, we were ushered through a busy hallway to a conference room decked out with many trophies, a long glass table and large maps of Sochi’s future Olympic park.
It was hard to imagine that I was standing in the building where the planning for one of the world’s biggest sports events was taking place.
The purpose of our visit was to interview Dmitry Chernyshenko, the man who was head of Sochi’s Olympic bid committee and is now head of the planning committee. Visa has, after all, been a top sponsor for the Olympic Games for years now, and our company is now partnering with the Olympic organizing committee to prepare the city with the electronic payment infrastructure to host the Games.
What clearly came across from my interview was Mr. Chernyshenko’s passion for the Olympic Games and his commitment to his native city of Sochi. He was quick to point out that he will consider the Games a success if the infrastructure he helps implement makes an impact that lasts long after the Olympic torch goes out.
Today, in fact, we travel to Sochi to see the spot itself. So stay tuned for more postcards from Sochi and, in the coming weeks, a full mini-documentary about the preparation for the next Olympic Games.
Just in time to travel to the London 2012 Olympic Games, my new Visa EMV chip corporate credit card arrived in the mail. This type of card was new to me, so I put it to the test in London, where this technology is more commonplace. One place I tested it out was Upper Playground, a cool store in London’s Soho neighborhood that features the work of local artists.
Making purchases was quick and simple. The main difference was that instead of swiping my card, I inserted it in the terminal. Then I simply signed for my purchase, just as I normally would in the U.S.
Other American travelers at the Olympics this year are likely to have been carrying their new chip cards with them, too. That’s because last year, Visa announced plans to accelerate the migration to chip technology in the U.S. Since that time, U.S. financial institutions have reported issuing an estimated 1.5 million chip cards as of June 30, 2012, and we are continuing to see positive momentum as the industry moves toward more broad-based adoption of this technology.
Why is chip coming to the U.S. now? EMV contact and contactless technology will help lay the foundation for NFC-based mobile payments, which we expect to take-off in the coming years. Chip also provides an added layer of security to transactions and enhanced acceptance for Americans traveling abroad.
Being at the center of innovation is nothing new for Visa. Bringing chip to the U.S. is another way that we are paving the way forward.
For fans of the Olympic Games, there will always be memories that stand out and stir emotional responses. For many Americans, one iconic memory is of Kerri Strug, performing through the pain of injury to complete a vault that helped the United States women’s gymnastics team to win a gold medal at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
We were able to spend some time with Kerri in London, and her pride in the performance of members of the 2012 team was obvious and her passion for the Olympics was contagious. And in preparation for a long day of interviews and appearances, we took the time to buy Kerri coffee using the mobile payment application we were testing around London. And given my hectic schedule running around London during the Olympics, better make that two!
With a gold medal as a member of the 4 X 100-meter medley relay team, Michael Phelps finished the London 2012 Olympic Games with six medals. Over four Olympics Phelps earned 22 medals, earning Phelps the distinction as the most decorated athlete in Olympic history.
Phelps sat down with Visa’s Kevin Burke (Chief Marketing Officer, Core Products) and several hundred members of the global media to discuss his retirement and plans for the future, as well as predictions around the future of swimming. Relaxed and deservedly proud of his achievements, Phelps is looking forward to a well-deserved rest and reaffirmed his plans to retire from competition following the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Stay tuned to Visa Viewpoints for exclusive conversations with Michael Phelps. And for updated content on Team Visa athletes during the London 2012 Olympic Games, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
As I’ve mentioned in previous postcards, Visa advertising is everywhere around London. So it should come as little surprise that ad placements pop up at some places you might least expect them–like outside a public toilet.
The ad is located in a busy intersection in Holborn that gets a lot of foot traffic and catches you eye as Usain Bolt appears to be running right at you. And when you stop to consider the location, the text of the ad (“Flow Faster With Visa”) might make you chuckle when you pass this particular public loo.
If you are one of the hundreds of thousands of people making their way to Olympic Park for the opening day of athletics, odds are that there will be some long lines exiting to return to your hotel or residence.
While you can choose to brave the crowds and cram into the tube cars with everyone else, I offer a less stressful alternative–go shopping!
Just outside the Olympic Park is Westfield Stratford with tons of incredible shopping. You really can’t miss it–it is a massive shopping center and has lots of really big Visa advertisements throughout. As a special treat for travelers, many of the shops are well into the spirit of the London 2012 Olympic Games and have special promotions and displays supporting their teams and the games.
First, an admission. I am by nature a collector. My current passion is sneakers. And as a child I collected baseball cards, so I understand the fervor of people who enjoy collecting things.
When I was given some Visa sponsor pins produced in support of London 2012, I was immediately intrigued. The iconic images of London combined with Visa branding was a perfect keepsake to remember my time here at the Olympic Games.
What I did not realize was the incredible culture of pin trading, well-established as part of Olympic history itself. There is even a dedicated, sponsored area of the Olympic Park for people passionate about pins to gather and trade, with respected etiquette and rules.
When I chatted with a few of the traders, they were immediately intrigued about Visa’s 2012 pins and shared with me some pins from the past. While my time in the pin trading area was brief, it was nice to see another creative way our brand awareness is shared and passed down from generation to generation.
And if you see a Visa employee around London, ask if they have any pins to add to your collection. You might be pleasantly surprised….
With last night’s gold medal win in the 4 x 200m freestyle relay, Michael Phelps upped his Olympic medal total to 19, besting the record of 18 career medals set by Russian gymnast Larissa Latynina in 1964. To celebrate this achievement, Visa has introduced a new congratulatory advertisement celebrating 19-time Olympic medalist Phelps as the most decorated Olympian of all-time. During the London 2012 Olympic Games, Phelps also captured a silver medal in the 4x100m freestyle relay and a silver medal in the 200m butterfly.
For the first time, Visa used actual video and photo cheers from fans in the U.S. that were submitted via Visa’s Cheer application on Facebook to star alongside Michael Phelps. The spot, entitled “Congratulations Michael,” aired on NBC following his win in the 4 x 200m freestyle relay. Leading up to the London 2012 Olympic Games, Phelps appeared in a number of Go World commercials including The Difference and 100th of a Second and was featured in more than 40 countries as part of Visa’s global marketing campaign.
Michael Phelps is a longstanding member of Visa’s global athlete support program, Team Visa. For the London 2012 Olympic Games, Visa is supporting 69 Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls (Team Visa London) along with national teams from more than 30 countries, providing financial support and valuable marketing exposure to assist them in pursuit of their Olympic and Paralympic goals.
Fans can continue to voice their support for Phelps, as well as other Team Visa athletes still competing at the London 2012 Olympic Games in the form of cheers by submitting photos, videos and text cheers, performing one-click cheers, and viewing content through Visa’s Cheer application on Facebook and by viewing and sharing video content on YouTube.
Emilie Heyman’s bronze medal performance in women’s synchronized 3-metre springboard earned Canada its first Olympic medal of the London 2012 Olympic Games. As one half of the medal-winning Synchro Team, Emilie also becomes the first female diver to win a medal at four consecutive Olympic Games.
To celebrate her medal-winning performance, Visa has created a new commercial, “Congratulations Emilie.” The commecrial aired on Canada’s Olympic Broadcast Media Consortium and features an image of Emilie on the podium in London. To view the ad, click here.
Visa introduced its first congratulatory commercial in the U.S. during the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games and continued this tradition during the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games, releasing special-edition ads in Canada (“First Gold” which celebrated the country’s first gold medal on home soil) and the U.S. (Julia Mancuso, skiing; Johnny Spillane, skiing; Seth Wescott, snowboarding).
Fans can continue to voice their support for Emilie leading up to the Women’s 3m Springboard on August 3, as well as other Team Visa athletes in Canada still competing at the London 2012 Olympic Games in the form of cheers by submitting photos, videos and text cheers, performing one-click cheers, and viewing content through Visa’s Cheer application on Facebook and by viewing and sharing video content on YouTube.
With the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games just hours away, the world is ready to celebrate and cheer for their favorite athletes and teams. At Visa, we’ve been encouraging fans to cheer for Team Visa athletes for the past several months leading up to London 2012. To date, more than 28 million fans have submitted digital cheers as part of Visa’s Go World campaign, our largest global and most social marketing campaign in Visa’s history.
Go World encourages consumers to cheer via Facebook, Youku and Sina-Weibo in China, VKontakte in Russia, YouTube and Twitter (US), to inspire Team Visa athletes at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Since the campaign launched in May, fans have cheered in the form of liking the Visa Facebook page, submitting photos, videos and text cheers and performing one-click cheers through Visa’s Cheer application on Facebook, viewing and sharing video content on YouTube, as well as including the campaign’s hashtag (#VisaGoWorld) on Twitter (@TeamVisa) and cheering through partner websites.
Some highlights of the campaign:
• 1.9 million fan “Likes” on Visa’s Facebook page
• 400,000 cheers for 69 Team Visa athletes in the form of a one-click cheers and text, photo or video submissions
• 25.7 million views of Visa’s Go World commercials, behind-the-scenes athlete content and consumer-generated cheer videos
• Globally, the most viewed Go World commercials include:
1. “The Difference”* (8.5 million views)
2. “Double Beach Volleyball” (3.4 million views) featuring Brazilian Team Visa athletes Emanuel Rego and Alison Cerutti
3. “A Very High Dive”* (3.2 million views) featuring Team Visa athletes David Boudia (US; diving) and Hugo Parisi (Brazil; diving)
4. “100th of a Second” (1.9 million views) featuring US Team Visa athlete Michael Phelps (swimming)
5. “Perfect 10” (1.1 million views) featuring Olympic legend Nadia Comaneci
6. “Yelena” (1.3 million views) featuring Russian Team Visa athlete Yelena Isinbaeva (pole vault).
The five most cheered for Team Visa athletes around the world include:
1. Li Na (tennis, China)
2. Yelena Isinbaeva (pole vault, Russia)
3. Michael Phelps (swimming, USA)
4. Lopez Lomong (track & field, USA)
5. Azizul Awang (track cyclist, Malaysia)
Within the United States, the five most cheered for Team Visa athletes include:
1. Michael Phelps (swimming)
2. Lopez Lomong (track & field)
3. Nastia Liukin (gymnastics)
4. David Boudia (diving)
5. Alana Nichols (wheelchair basketball)