Chicago Sun-Times
Lewis Lazare follows Chicago media and marketing news

Recently in Discover Card Category

Loyalty3.jpgThis will resonate. Of that we have no doubt. We're talking about a new ad campaign from the Martin Agency in Richmond, Va., for Riverwoods, IL.-based Discover Card that breaks today. Three new TV spots all focus on customer service -- or, more specifically, the lack thereof -- at some financial institutions.

The new Discover spots make their point via a customer service agent called Peggy, who is actually a he. Peggy is seen in each spot attempting to deal with a customer who has called a financial institution named USA Prime Credit. In each instance, the interaction with Peggy leads to a situation that is both funny and familiar -- at least to anyone who has struggled to get through to -- and then deal with -- a banking representative.

It's a tribute to Martin's skills that the shop has managed to make us laugh at what is, in fact, a hugely frustrating experience for so many, namely the decline of customer service. Discover Card apparently promises a real person will answer customer calls within 60 seconds. That's a promise well worth promoting in Discover's marketing initiatives. We'll have more on the spots at a later date.

Print ad.JPGRiverwoods-based Discover Card is launching a new ad campaign designed to emphasize the value to the consumer in having and using the card. The ads will talk about Discover Card's cash rewards program, its customer service and its heritage as no annual fee card. The hope is that the campaign will keep current cardholders loyal and encourage those consumers who don't currently use a Discover Card to reconsider.

Cash is something everyone's looking for more of nowadays. So it makes smart business sense for Riverwoods, IL.-based Discover Card to push the point that it offers cash back on every purchase. And that's exactly what Discover and ad agency the Martin Group in Richmond, Va., are doing in new TV and print executions debuting his week. The commercials aren't, however, telling consumers to stash the cash they get back for a really rainy day. Rather the commercials suggest those getting cash back should opt for some little indulgences, like a new pair of shoes, a ride on carnival bumper cars or an enjoyable meal out at restaurant.

While it might not be prudent for anyone to spend lavishly at this moment in time, we all know it's imperative to get the economy going again -- something that won't happen very quickly unless people permit themselves to enjoy at least a few of life's little pleasures. So while pointing up a virtue of owning the card, Discover is doing something with this campaign that might help the economy get back on track.



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Lewis Lazare has written the Media Mix column for the Chicago Sun-Times for the past seven and a half years.

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