The brand was announced as the official payment partner of the Formula E Championships in May, the first ever all-electric series that launched in Beijing last September.
The tournament is an environmentally friendly alternative to Formula One as well as an effort to encourage people to drive electric vehicles.
Visa believes its future consumers will be among those purchasing electronic cars, one of the reasons it chose to partner with the tournament, which it calls “disruptive to something quite traditional”.
Mark Antipof, chief officer of sales and marketing at Visa Europe, told Marketing Week: “They’re using technology as a big part of that – not only the electrical aspect, but also on social media.
“Our future client base are people that adopt technology really quickly and we believe they’re the people that would insist on electric cars,” he added. “The younger generation is much more concerned about the future.”
As an electronic payment brand, Visa is also aligned with the tournament’s environmentally friendly aspect and also faces “a lot of the same hurdles” as Formula E in terms of data security and safety.
“It’s two unrelated industries tackling similar objective but coming at it from a different angle,” he said, adding that as Formula E has the license to other alternative and clean energies the brand don’t know “what the future will hold”.
Using social to reach fans
Over the weekend the brand will launch its onsite Visa Europe eVillage that will feature virtual reality racing and simulators for fans as well as branded headsets broadcasting live commentator content.
Brand ambassador Usain Bolt will challenge drivers to run their fastest 100 metres on Thursday in return for a “Fan Boost”, which gives spectators the ability to vote online for their favourite driver to give them an extra speed boost during the race.
Visa will also provide a branded “Fastest Lap” trophy to the fastest drivers on both days over the weekend.
Antipof claims the event is much more “family-oriented” than Formula One, which often excludes children due to the noise factor of the races.
“It’s not noisy and you can go spend the day in the park,” he said. “It’s also more accessible for the fans that actually attend, as the circuits are done in such a way that there is public access to see them.”
The future of Formula E
While the brand’s partnership is only for this season, Antipof said Visa is in “negotiations” for a future deal.
“We’ve been delighted by the platform and the response we’ve had in terms of engagement,” he said, adding that ROI is “easier to measure when you’ve got a digital platform and can see fans multiplying and talking about it on social”.
“When you pick a partnership you want to make sure it’s lasting and works really well, and we’d definitely like to do more,” he said.
Antipof added that with Apple Pay and Google Pay coming into the market, the partnership “builds in quite nicely for the future”.
“Sponsorships are important for a brand like Visa,” he said. “We do not sell directly to the consumer, so they allow us to create engagement and affinity.”