SAN FRANCISCO, Aug 01, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) --Visa, a Worldwide Olympic Games Sponsor for 26 years, introduced a new congratulatory advertisement celebrating 19-time Olympic medalist Michael Phelps as the most decorated Olympian of all-time. With last night's gold medal win in the 4 x 200m freestyle relay, Phelps upped his Olympic medal total to 19, besting the record of 18 career medals set by Russian gymnast Larissa Latynina in 1964. During the London 2012 Olympic Games, Phelps also captured a silver medal in the 4x100m freestyle relay and a silver medal in the 200m butterfly.
For the first time, Visa used actual video and photo cheers from fans in the U.S. that were submitted via Visa's Cheer application on Facebook to star alongside Michael Phelps. The spot, entitled "Congratulations Michael," aired on NBC following his win in the 4 x 200m freestyle relay. Leading up to the London 2012 Olympic Games, Phelps appeared in a number of Go World commercials including The Difference and 100th of a Second and was featured in more than 40 countries as part of Visa's global marketing campaign.
"We're honored to celebrate Michael Phelps as the most decorated Olympian of all-time and his memorable and historic Olympic Games performance through our real-time Go World congratulatory commercial," said Kevin Burke, global CMO of core products for Visa, Inc. "We've collected tens of millions of cheers from fans around the world for Team Visa athletes, including Michael, and are thrilled to feature some of these expressions of support to underscore the impact that cheering has on inspiring athletes to achieve unforgettable performances at the Olympic Games."
Visa's first congratulatory commercial featuring Michael Phelps aired on NBC following his win in the 200 meter butterfly at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. Visa continued this tradition during the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games, releasing special-edition ads in the U.S. for Julia Mancuso (skiing), Johnny Spillane (skiing), Angela Ruggiero (ice hockey) and Seth Wescott (snowboarding) and in Canada, celebrating the country's first gold medal on home soil ("First Gold").
Visa's Olympic Games-themed integrated marketing campaign for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games - Go World - is the largest global and most social initiative in company history. The campaign, activated in more than 70 countries, utilizes popular social media platforms, along with television and digital advertising and usage promotions, to turn the passion of fans into online cheers that will help inspire athletes worldwide as they compete at the Games.
The campaign has generated more than 38 million cheers leading up to the London 2012 Olympic Games. Visa reports that the top seven most-active "cheering" countries are the United States, Brazil, Russia, Canada, Mexico, Japan, and Australia.
Fans can continue to voice their support for Phelps, as well as other Team Visa athletes still competing at the London 2012 Olympic Games in the form of cheers by submitting photos, videos and text cheers, performing one-click cheers, and viewing content through Visa's Cheer application on Facebook and by viewing and sharing video content on YouTube.
Michael Phelps is a longstanding member of Visa's global athlete support program, Team Visa. For the London 2012 Olympic Games, Visa is supporting 69 Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls (Team Visa London) along with national teams from more than 30 countries, providing financial support and valuable marketing exposure to assist them in pursuit of their Olympic and Paralympic goals.
To learn more about Go World or to view and download images, videos and other assets, visit www.visa.com/olympicmediakit.
About Visa Inc.
Visa (NYSE:V) is a global payments technology company that connects consumers, businesses, financial institutions and governments in more than 200 countries and territories to fast, secure and reliable digital currency. Underpinning digital currency is one of the world's most advanced processing networks--VisaNet--that is capable of handling more than 20,000 transactions a second, with fraud protection for consumers and guaranteed payment for merchants. Visa is not a bank, and does not issue cards, extend credit or set rates and fees for consumers. Visa's innovations, however, enable its financial institution customers to offer consumers more choices: Pay now with debit, ahead of time with prepaid or later with credit products. For more information, visit www.corporate.visa.com.
SOURCE: Visa Inc.