Frontline Marketing

Citi Is Straightforward With New Spots Featuring Katy Perry

Citi is doubling down on the success of their “Double Cash” credit card campaign by continuing its longstanding relationship with Katy Perry and tapping the songstress to relay the brand’s no-punches-pulled positioning.

The new spot features Perry rehearsing for an upcoming show and highlights the disparity between what people say and what they actually mean through everyday scenarios. Citi’s messaging—which will continue later this month with Perry’s micro teacup poodle named Nugget—is simple: they mean what we say.

“I’m all about not mincing my words, so I’m excited to be teaming up with Citi for this hilarious new campaign,” Perry said. “I’m super pleased Nugget finally gets to be on TV, too.”

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“In today’s society, consumers have a heightened desire for a more emotional, authentic dialogue with brands,” Jennifer Breithaupt, Citi’s global consumer chief marketing officer, told AListDaily. “In a category that’s not always straightforward, we took on the elephant in the room, and it’s absolutely resonated with our audience.”

Breithaupt said they’ve used the “Double Cash” campaign to open dialogue with consumers through humor and relatable situations. And it seems to be working. Product awareness increased 2.3 times and website traffic from natural search increased by over 80 percent within the first three months of the launch of the original Effie Award-winning “Double Cash” campaign last March.

“Through proprietary research with general US consumers, we found that almost one-third of respondents described choosing a new credit card as ‘a complicated experience,” Breithaupt explained. “As the world’s largest credit card issuer, Citi is striving to remove that complication alongside selecting a new credit card.”

The ads with the pop star Perry will be appearing on ESPN, USA, E!, Discovery, Lifetime, HGTV, FX and AMC during programming like The Bachelorette, Dancing with the Stars and events like the Billboard Music Awards and NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs as well as the singer’s upcoming appearance on James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke special. A complementing social media strategy entails Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with a focus on GIFs with meme-inspired copy to further drive video views.

“With more hyper-connected consumers interacting with ads via digital and social channels, it’s imperative that any unified campaign include a full spectrum of media channels,” Breithaupt said. “As such, this campaign encompasses a robust digital and social strategy that envelopes consumers with campaign content how, and where, they want to view it. From a strong presence on Facebook and our own social channels, to the use of vertical video and non-audio assets in mobile, the campaign is an additive experience for consumers. We also look for opportunities to be in the right places in digital—for example, if consumers are viewing Katy content online, we think they would enjoy viewing our ads in addition.”

Jennifer Breithaupt
Jennifer Breithaupt, Citi’s global consumer chief marketing officer

Breithaupt, who’s worked at Citi since 1999, is fresh off of a promotion that was announced last month.

It’s early days but I’m incredibly excited about the road ahead,” Breithaupt said. “Citi’s global consumer bank and in particular, the cards business, has been on a multi-year journey to transform the business and build a world-class, highly competitive product portfolio. Today, we’re well positioned to drive growth going forward and be the bank of tomorrow and our marketing initiatives will increasingly reflect that.”

Her previous role entailed working as the managing director of media, advertising and global entertainment for Citi, where she was largely responsible for setting the Citi Private Pass program strategy and giving cardholders exclusive experiences for the more than 12,000 events that included acts like Coldplay, Lady Gaga, Madonna and Perry. Under her watch last year, total entertainment spend on the near 33 million Citi cards in the US increased almost 13 percent in 2016 compared to 2015.

Breithaupt also spearheaded several multi-year partnerships, including the Citi Concert Series on Today with NBC and Live Nation Entertainment.

Citi recently united forces with Live Nation and NextVR to produce a series of up to 10 live concerts in virtual reality, transporting fans “backstage” with an immersive VR experience with the artists.

“Without a doubt, the rise of digital and mobile as a centerpiece in consumers’ lives is impacting all industries,” Breithaupt said. “At Citi, we’re embracing it and interacting with our customers in new and exciting ways.”

Follow Manouk Akopyan on Twitter @Manouk_Akopyan