Promotion Signals Visa’s Turn to Emerging Media

Visa USA has promoted interactive ad champion Jon Raj to VP of online advertising and emerging media platforms. The move is a signal of the company’s plans to focus more attention on nascent interactive media like mobile, VOD and PVRs.

Raj formerly held the title of director of advertising. Raj’s online work for Visa has garnered him a high profile within the interactive community, even earning him a role as online marketing “superhero” in a trade ad campaign by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB).

In his new role, Raj says, he will continue to work with Visa agencies AKQA, BBDO and OMD as the credit card company dips its toes into new interactive waters. Raj wouldn’t say, however, how much money Visa was dedicating to these emerging areas, nor would he divulge how much the company currently spends on interactive endeavors.

“I think Visa has always looked to interactive. In the beginning it was as much out of curiosity as necessity. And I think now it’s become less curiosity and more necessity,” Raj told ClickZ News. “It’s kind of a fun time for me because I’ve been involved in the online space since 1995. Now, there are all these new media forms and the best people to deal with understanding this wave are those of us who have been around for a while. It really takes that sort of thinking.”

Raj said the company is currently conducting several experiments with emerging media — two with VOD and one with PVRs. Visa also has a wireless campaign for its Signature product in the works, which will debut in the next month or so. It’s also looking into in-game advertising opportunities.

“It’s all about trial and error,” Raj said. “We want to be ready for when one of these takes off. We’re not putting our money on a winner. We’re putting our money on everybody so we’ll be prepared for when a winner emerges.”

Meanwhile, the company is also trying to refine its approach to broadband-enabled video online. While Visa has produced a couple of video spots exclusively for the Web, Raj would like to better integrate online creative with the spots that are running on TV — understanding that the needs of online audiences are different.

“Moving ahead, that’s something I’d very much like to see happen. That would mean working closer to the traditional media,” he said. “That’s really our strategy of how we’re going to be successful with these emerging media networks. Our agencies are the best of breed and they understand our business. It’s just a matter of working with them all together to understand how to reach our business goals.”

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