Magazine article ADWEEK

Jennifer Breithaupt: BANKING ON THE POWER OF CONNECTION

Magazine article ADWEEK

Jennifer Breithaupt: BANKING ON THE POWER OF CONNECTION

Article excerpt

When Breithaupt became global consumer chief marketing officer of Citi in 2017, she was given an unusual mission: to bring more emotion to a 207-year-old financial services brand that wasn't exactly dripping with the feels.

First, she addressed the tone of Citi's advertising. "If you look at our work pre-2017 -- and I will admit I was responsible for some of it--we focused on our products and services. We would talk and talk and talk and talk," says Breithaupt. Under her direction, Citi stopped talking at customers and instead put them at the center of its branding. This shift came with a new tagline, "Welcome what's next," which signaled all the life moments a customer turns to their bank for, from buying a home to sending a kid to college.

A new tune

Then Breithaupt dialed it up by leveraging Citi's longstanding connection to music. The brand launched Citi Entertainment a decade ago, which provides customers with presale tickets, exclusive access and other offers related to movies, music, TV and sports. The Citi Sound Vault Series, meanwhile, has since 2017 provided cardholders with premium access to intimate performances with A-list artists. Having witnessed the impact of #SeeHer, the Association of National Advertisers' initiative to eliminate unconscious bias against women and girls in advertising and media, Breithaupt realized similar progress could be made in the music industry--and in the process, strike an emotional chord.

"It's just staggering how few women there are in music," says Breithaupt. "You talk to artists that are female and they'll tell you it was a struggle, how they had to hustle harder. If we can make it just a little easier on women coming up through the industry, that's a strong message."

On International Women's Day this year, Citi announced on The Today Show that it would lead #SeeHerHearHear (an extension of the ANA's #SeeHer initiative), which aims to bring gender parity and exposure to the music industry, as well as to music in advertising. …

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