Magazine article American Banker

MasterCard, AMEX Decide to Punt on Super Bowl

Magazine article American Banker

MasterCard, AMEX Decide to Punt on Super Bowl

Article excerpt

American Express Co. and MasterCard International are among the advertisers sitting out Sunday's exorbitantly expensive Super Bowl telecast.

Visa U.S.A. will run two 30-second spots, but American Express and MasterCard reportedly balked at the price tag, which has been driven to record levels of up to $5 million a minute by cash-rich Internet companies vying for name recognition.

"In the card industry, which is so customer-acquisition-oriented, it is increasingly hard to justify spending so much for image" advertising, said William Keenan, president of De Novo Corp. in Hockessin, Del.

Visa, which is in the final year of a five-year contract with the National Football League, said its commercials will focus on the summer Olympics in Sydney, of which Visa is a sponsor. A spokesman for the San Francisco-based card association said Visa's Super Bowl media buy was part of a full-season package deal with ABC, which resulted in a lower cost for the Super Bowl spots.

American Express advertised in the most recent two Super Bowl broadcasts, spending $3.2 million last year on a 60-second spot featuring Jerry Seinfeld. It may have decided its money was better spent elsewhere, industry sources said.

The charge card giant, which declined to comment for this story, advertised heavily during the NFL playoffs, mostly for Blue, its new credit card with a chip.

Jeffrey Baxter, principal at S.J. Baxter & Associates in Forest Hill, Md., said that American Express is putting its marketing dollars behind Blue and that the Super Bowl audience's demographics are not a close enough fit to justify the ad expenditure. …

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