Mastercard puts Visa on the alert

Visa International is planning a stand alone advertising campaign for its UK credit card business if global rival Mastercard buys the Access brand from the banks.

Sources say it plans separate ads for Barclaycard – which has combined the two brands as Barclaycard Visa for a number of years .

“Visa is worried that it is too aligned with one bank in the UK,” says a source. “If Mastercard is successful in its bid for Access, it will pump money behind its own branding campaign.”

Mastercard has its own UK ad campaign through Publicis, which runs with the “Ah Mastercard” theme.

It is understood that a proposal to allocate a separate budget for marketing and ad promotion is planned for Visa’s October budget review.

A Visa International spokesman says there are no immediate plans for a separate promotion for Visa credit cards. “We are promoting the name on our debit card, Visa Delta,” he says.

Access officials are said to be furious that Midland Bank, NatWest, Lloyds Bank and the Royal Bank of Scotland have been in talks about a sale. “One of the banks obviously leaked the story to push the price up with Mastercard,” says one source.

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