17 February 2006

Visa’s virtual Olympic challenge [Business Week]

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The credit-card giant scored a hit with its online “advergame.” And it’s not alone, as companies try to think of new ways to snag eyeballs

There’s a new competition at the Winter Olympics this year — and it involves virtual, rather than actual, athletes. On Feb. 15 winners of an online, Olympic-themed advertising game, or “advergame”, commissioned by Visa, will face off — in person — in a Torino-area shopping mall, playing on computer terminals hooked up to large-scale screens.

Designed to increase brand awareness, the free online game — which went live in October — allows players to engage in bobsleigh, giant slalom, and snowboarding competitions. Visa flew the 23 finalists from around the globe — from such countries as Austria, the Ukraine, China, and the U.S. — to the Torino Olympics to stage its own games.

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