Art.com and Visa Ally in Co-Branded DM Push

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Art.com has added Visa USA to its list of more than 10,000 affiliate partners in an 18-month deal that makes Visa the preferred card on the online art retailer's Web site.


The move will lead to a slew of co-branded marketing promotions slated to begin in the next six to eight weeks, and will encompasses direct mail, sweepstakes, online mentions, statement inserts, discounts and holiday offers.


"It increases awareness of our mutual leadership in our categories and increases awareness of buying art and using your credit card online," said Bill Lederer, CEO of Art.com, Lake Forest, IL.


For its part, Art.com will run three mutually exclusive offers for Visa cardholders that include special discounts, gifts with purchases of prints and better shipping terms. Visa will be the site's default payment card, or the first card among the array of payment options. And the Visa logo -- not link -- will feature at the bottom of the Art.com homepage.


Visa will include Art.com in back to school and Christmas holiday promotions like banner ads, jump-page ads [like links] on the Visa.com and youth-targeted RankIt.com sites, and possibly hot links to individual member financial institutions' sites. It estimates the promos will bring in 500,000 impressions apiece on Art.com.


The payments franchise also provides for Art.com's inclusion in the Visa Rewards online program. Jump-page ads on Visa.com, possible hot links to member banks' sites and inserts in member statements are part of this push.


The agreement binds Visa's member banks to certain value-added distribution offers. Art.com will gain mention in statement inserts, newsletters, direct mail, push e-mail and on Visa members' sites. This should result in at least 10,000 impressions, according to Art.com.


Also, both Art.com and Visa will jointly fund a prize package on two sweepstakes that will run on the art site. Visa cardholders will be given preference, though holders of other credit cards are not barred from entry.


Owned by Getty Images Inc., Seattle, Art.com is a year-old e-commerce site that boasts a real-time catalog of 124,000 prints, art gifts and frames from 9,600 retailers worldwide. Though it does stock some original art that is auctioned on the site, its range of prints spans great masters as well as the works of pop culture artists.


The site includes framing visualization software, which allows a potential customer to view a print in different frames and matting, as well as seasonal and featured galleries and the ArtClique Saver's Club, a customer loyalty program with more than 50,000 members.


An effort is now underway to raise the online marketer's profile. In September, it plans to break a new ad campaign by Chicago shop Leo Burnett. Lederer said he even sent Visa an idea for a co-branded ad push, though there's been no word from the other end at press time. But he was quite satisfied with the new Visa affiliation deal.


"We are very fortunate that Visa has identified Art.com as a leader in its category," said Lederer. "It's a mutual tip of the hat."
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