Promoting a financial services product during a recession becomes nearly impossible when the product is an Affluent Credit Card. At a time when affluent consumers don’t want to appear “affluent” and aren’t interested in accruing more “stuff,” Chase/Ketchum was challenged with raising awareness and differentiating Chase Sapphire from other rewards cards targeting affluent customers on the market. With one of the card’s key pillars focused on offering cardmembers access to unique experiences, not just more stuff, the team aligned its brand with one of the most coveted, experiential shows on television: MAD MEN, a sexy and provocative, award-winning drama that follows the lives of the ruthlessly competitive men and women of the 1960s Madison Avenue advertising world.
By creating and leveraging a successful partnership with MAD MEN, Chase Sapphire created once-in-a-lifetime events for its cardmembers that brought the world of MAD MEN into reality, allowing cardmembers to get up close and personal with talent. The team targeted national media, with affluent readership, and invited them to experience what it’s like to be a Chase Sapphire cardmember. This effort resulted in a number of in-depth positive stories about the unique experiences, like the MAD MEN season premiere and finale events, available to Chase Sapphire cardmembers. Overall results include increasing national awareness for Chase Sapphire to 48% in Nov. 2010 (doubled from 22% in Nov. 2009), securing positive coverage totaling 174+ million media impressions, amazing cardmember testimonials and an increase in website traffic.
Primary Research: Chase Sapphire had surveyed affluent consumers to learn that they didn’t need a credit card that offered them more stuff, but were looking for valuable experiences they can share with friends and family. These affluent consumers did not want to appear opulent and viewed intangible things like time and experiences as more important to them than money.
Secondary Research: When considering MAD MEN, after reviewing the show’s demographics, Ketchum conducted a media audit and learned that national business media and elite entertainment media outlets had previously covered the show from marketing and business angles. This confirmed that our target reporters, who would be critical in telling the Chase Sapphire story to the affluent audience (their readers), were aware of the MAD MEN brand. In addition, Ketchum media specialists held casual conversations with many national reporters from The Wall Street Journal to The New York Times, to assess who were fans of the show on a personal level. Google
Analytics Research: Ketchum also used Google metrics to determine which U.S. cities had the most searches for the phrase “MAD MEN” based on Google Search Trend archives. New York City, one of the target markets, was one of the top markets for MAD MEN-related searches. Key Research Insights: Partnering with MAD MEN would appeal to affluent consumers and to key target media outlets who are influential in telling Chase Sapphire’s experiential rewards story.
• Business Objective: Increase national awareness for Chase Sapphire by 10 percent
• Communications Objective: Secure coverage that included messaging aligning Chase Sapphire and cardmembers’ exclusive access to the MAD MEN events in 50 percent of all articles/blog posts
• Media Objective: Secure more than 100 million media impressions
1) Align Chase Sapphire with MAD MEN, an “experiential” entertainment property that appeals to the affluent consumer/viewer, and take the partnership beyond the traditional four corners of the TV set (the usual approach to entertainment partnerships) via two exclusive cardmember events. Admission to these events – the MAD MEN Season 4 Premiere Screening VIP section and Exclusive Finale Party at the 21 Club – was only possible with a Chase Sapphire Card as the “ticket” for entry.
2) Target top-tier media who are MAD MEN fans or who have covered the show and capitalize on their interest by inviting them to the Premiere and Finale events to experience what it’s like to be a Chase Sapphire cardmember.
Chase Sapphire delivers memorable experiences to cardmembers, and its promotion with MAD MEN takes the card’s value proposition to the next level by going beyond the four corners of your TV set and ‘integrating’ the show into your life. With many of our cardmembers being fans of the show, the chance to attend events with ‘MAD MEN’ cast members is the type of once-in-a-lifetime opportunity Chase Sapphire offers. Target Audience: Affluent consumers defined as the top 15 percent of U.S. households based on income who value “their time” over “their money.” Household Income of $120k+; Home Value of $245K+. College educated. MAD MEN and Chase Sapphire share a similar audience – someone who is interested in compelling entertainment, meaningful stories and unique experiences.
Strategy 1: Align Chase Sapphire with MAD MEN, an “experiential” entertainment property that appeals to the affluent consumer/viewer, and take the partnership beyond the traditional four corners of the TV set (the usual approach to entertainment partnerships) via two exclusive cardmember events. Admission to these events was only possible with a Chase Sapphire Card as the “ticket” for entry.
TACTICS: MAD MEN Season 4 Premiere: Hosted public screening event in Times Square with more than 7,000 fans in attendance to watch the premiere episode on a jumbo screen erected in Times Square. Created special Chase Sapphire VIP experience for cardmembers, including VIP seating near stage, MAD MEN gift bags with limited edition MAD MEN Betty Draper Barbie dolls and the opportunity to meet January Jones (“Betty Draper”) and Elisabeth Moss (“Peggy Olson”). Created 1960s ambiance to bring-to-life the MAD MEN world, complete with costumed cigar girls, actors in show-era costumes, drinks and snacks. Created MAD MEN costume contest to encourage members of the public and cardmembers to arrive in MAD MEN-era attire. Secured Chris March of “Project Runway” and other fashion judges to award best costume. Selected handful of cardmembers at random to take surprise photos with talent. Delivered surprise birthday cake on stage to Lizzy Moss, (event held on her birthday) further creating a celebratory atmosphere and delivering a unique photo opportunity for media.
MAD MEN Season 4 Finale: Hosted exclusive cardmember-only private party for MAD MEN Season 4 Finale at the 21 Club in NYC, a classic MAD MEN-era venue. Arranged for exclusive talent, John Hamm (“Don Draper”), Elisabeth Moss (“Peggy Olson”), Cara Buono (“Dr. Faye Miller”), Christina Hendricks (“Joan Harris”), and writer/creator Matthew Weiner, to interact with cardmembers before screening. Continued MAD MEN-era theme through menu, drinks and show-era costumed actors/servers. Arranged for cardmembers to watch talent arrive, walk the Red Carpet and talk to media, creating excitement during event and an “insider” vantage point for cardmembers. Arranged for select cardmember to take pictures and meet talent along the Red Carpet.
Strategy 2: Target top-tier media who are MAD MEN fans or who have covered the show and capitalize on their interest by inviting them to the Premiere and Finale events to experience what it’s like to be a Chase Sapphire cardmember.
TACTICS: Targeted media at key national business and elite entertainment media outlets, read by affluent consumers. Identified reporters who are personally fans of MAD MEN, via personal conversations and relationships with these contacts, in order to determine who was more likely to be interested in the story on a personal level. Invited key business and entertainment media to attend events to see “what it’s like to be a Chase Sapphire cardmember.”
Reporters could experience for themselves that Chase Sapphire is offering something totally unique. The business story focused on Chase Sapphire’s offer of experiential rewards that cannot be “bought,” while entertainment/lifestyle media had the opportunity to interview talent, AMC/MAD MEN executives, and Chase executives about the uniqueness of the partnership. Additionally, media were encouraged to mingle with Chase Sapphire cardmembers to hear their reactions and excitement about being cardmembers. Hired Associated Press “ringer” to photograph event and post images to AP wire with Chase Sapphire tagging to increase photo pickup.
Chase Sapphire/MAD MEN partnership met and exceeded all of objectives, including:
1) Business Objective: Increase national awareness for Chase Sapphire by 10 percent. 1) Results: The team increased awareness for the card by more than 50 percent, exceeding the original goal by 400 percent.
According to an awareness survey conducted by an internal Chase team, national awareness for Chase Sapphire increased from 22% in Nov. 2009 to 48% in Nov. 2010, with the most significant increases in Q3 (39%) and Q4(48%) during the timeframes of the MAD MEN events. In addition, there was an increase in social media conversations about “Chase Sapphire” during these months (according to Chase social media metrics), as well as a spike in Google Search for “Chase Sapphire” (according to Google Trend Data).
2) Communications Objective: Secure coverage that included messaging aligning Chase Sapphire and cardmembers’ exclusive access to the MAD MEN events in 50 percent of all articles/blog posts. 2) Results: Nearly 90 percent of all coverage of the MAD MEN partnership included a mention of Chase Sapphire and the exclusive access provided to its cardmembers. A few examples include: The Wall Street Journal: “Before Sunday’s season four finale of Mad Men, Jon Hamm, Matthew Weiner, Elisabeth Moss, Christina Hendricks and Cara Buono joined about 100 Chase Sapphire card members for a private meet and greet at the 21 Club. Through part of a special deal struck with AMC, these special guests only had to spend 5,000 points or roughly $50 on their card to get some quality time with their favorite cast.” AOL’s Daily Finance: “Several dozen Chase Sapphire members used 5,000 accrued ‘points’ for a chance to rub shoulders with the Mad Men stars. The idea behind the Chase Sapphire program is to move beyond rewarding cardmembers with ‘stuff’ and instead offer them ‘experiences, said Sean O’Reilly of Chase Sapphire. Amex Black, eat your heart out.” NY Daily News: “Jon Hamm lived up to his last name at the AMC Mad Men season-four finale party on Sunday night. Although it was Christina Hendricks and Elisabeth Moss who posed with lucky Chase Sapphire Card members on the red carpet at ‘21,’ dreamy Draper got just as much attention.” Further, Chase executives were elated with the positive testimonials they received onsite from cardmembers, including: “I have been with Chase for over 20 years and this is the best benefit I have received. They are starting to do more things like this and it’s more enticing for me to stay with Chase, my rewards are better and an event like this, no one else is really go to. I love this event, what more can I say, this was fantastic,” Rita M. Chase Sapphire cardmember. “It’s cool that they made this connection with MAD MEN because a lot of Sapphire cardmembers love MAD MEN, we love MAD MEN, and this is something I couldn’t get if I wasn’t a Chase Sapphire cardmember,” Cathleen R. and Alex F. Chase Sapphire cardmembers.
3) Media Objective: Secure more than 100 million media impressions. Results: The team exceeded its media impressions goal by 74 percent. The MAD MEN/Chase Sapphire resulted in 174+ million media impressions, including positive coverage in New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Fortune, Portfolio.com, AOL’s Daily Finance, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, New York Observer, In Touch, People.com, US Weekly, New York Daily News, CNN, CNBC, FOX News, Gothamist, New York Post. MyFox New York, with images carried by affluent-targeted celebrity sites including Access Hollywood’s Star Sightings gallery, imnotobsessed.com, instyle, popsugar.com, PopEater, wonderwall.msn.com’s Week in Photos.