Visa’s Ads to Highlight an ‘Epic’ N.F.L. Season

Visa has a new game plan for its sponsorship of the 2012-13 season of the National Football League.

The company, which has been a league sponsor since 1995, played up the Super Bowl in the campaigns it introduced each of the last two Septembers. Last year’s campaign followed a fan who won a trip to the big game and the 2010-11 campaign was centered on a group of friends who had never missed a Super Bowl in person.

The new campaign, which is to begin on Sunday, includes the Super Bowl, but it is not the main focus. Rather, the spotlight in the 2012-13 campaign is on offers for fans that range from discounts on video games to a chance to interview an N.F.L. player.

Although “the Super Bowl is a component,” said Alex Craddock, head of North American marketing for Visa in San Francisco, the campaign runs “from kickoff right through the Super Bowl and into the off-season, too.”

The campaign carries the theme “Make it epic,” a phrase that people with Twitter accounts are encouraged to use as a hashtag with comments they post. As that would indicate, the campaign will have a significant presence in social media in addition to the usual ad tactics Visa uses, like television commercials.

Is there a risk in using a word like “epic” to characterize the offers? The offers will even be found on a “Make it epic” section of the Visa Web site.

“It’s a big word,” Mr. Craddock acknowledged. “It comes with some big promises.”

But the campaign will deliver on those promises, he said, through experiences like the chance to ask a player questions.

That experience is dramatized in the first TV commercial, in which Ray Lewis of the Baltimore Ravens is seen barking at a reporter at a news conference. Then a young girl asks a series of questions like “What’s your favorite color?” (Purple, he gladly replies.)

After the child is finished, Mr. Lewis tells the reporters, “Why can’t you guys ask good questions like this?” An announcer then comes on, declaring, “For a chance to interview an N.F.L. player, join Visa N.F.L. Fan Offers and make your season epic.”

The spot ends with Mr. Lewis on the field, accompanied by the girl.

The campaign is being produced by the Visa creative agency of record, TBWA/Chiat/Day Los Angeles, which is the Playa del Rey, Calif., office of TBWA/Chiat/Day, part of the TBWA Worldwide unit of the Omnicom Group.

Read more at: NewYorkTimes