Sony, Citibank Launch Leisure Card Campaign

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NEW YORK -- Sony and Citibank debuted a massive integrated marketing campaign Sept. 24 to introduce a co-branded credit card that will include a series of direct mailings numbering in the millions, product inserts, telemarketing and direct response television. The Sony Card, available from MasterCard or Visa and touted as the "official currency of playtime," will let cardholders earn points toward the purchase of Sony electronic products and entertainment. Direct marketing will be combined with print advertising in Sports Illustrated, Entertainment Weekly and other general-interest titles, outdoor advertising and point-of-purchase displays. College students will be targeted at on-campus events. Wunderman Cato Johnson is coordinating the creative aspects of the campaign with both companies' inhouse marketing staffs. The direct mail campaign, which drops today, will draw on the customer databases of both companies to target prospects. Although the size of those databases wasn't revealed, Sony customer service representatives field 7 million calls a year. Outbound telemarketing will be employed as a follow-up to the mail pieces and for initial prospecting. Card applications will be included in the 60 million packages that Sony ships each year. DRTV exposure will consist of 60-second spots on channels yet to be determined. A. Sami Siddiqui, president of North America Cards for Citibank, which issues 91 million credit cards worldwide, said its partnerships differ from other affinity card marketers in scale and brand recognition. Citibank, which also issues co-branded cards for American Airlines and AT&T, selects partners with global brand recognition that lend themselves to mass marketing.

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