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Visa continues Olympics-themed mobile commerce blitz with Uber partnership

Visa enabled consumers in major cities worldwide to virtually join the Rio Summer Olympics by requesting rides via the Uber application, selecting the RioPool option and interacting with in-car tablet experiences featuring 3D swimming goggles, animated soccer balls and other activations.

Last Friday, Visa enabled residents of cities including New York, San Francisco, Dubai and Mexico City to request a RioPool within Uber’s app to experience an interactive ride with other consumers. This cross-partnership arrives on the heels of Visa’s most recent Rio-centric activations, showcasing how effectively the financial brand has leveraged the excitement surrounding the Olympics.

“It is important for marketers to enter into cross-partnerships with other brands as they ramp up their marketing tactics during the Olympic Games,” said Marci Troutman, CEO of SiteMinis.

“Marketers are always needing to look for the biggest opportunity to gain new customers during events like the Olympics, and given the short window of time where they have the attention of the world, ensuring they are partnering with complementary brands can only strengthen their strategies and help them gain optimal exposure.”

Uniting riders worldwide
The Visa and Uber partnership aimed to unite riders from a plethora of different cities and backgrounds with tablet-powered in-car experiences relating to the summer Olympics.

On August 5, Uber customers could enter the code VISAPOOL into the ride-sharing app and request a Visa RioPool vehicle to pick them up. During standard working hours, individuals in Rio, Dubai, Mexico City, New York, San Francisco and Santiago could take advantage of the one-day activation.

Consumers could pair up with the other commuters in their carpool to compete in a series of virtual in-car experiences, all of which were available on tablet devices.

Sports-themed experiences included interacting with animated soccer balls and 3D swim goggles.

Uber and Visa’s collaborations showcased how marketers can use virtual reality technology in a cost-effective manner that enables consumers to enjoy memorable branded experiences.

Building on previous efforts
Visa’s RioPool event arrived several weeks after the brand rolled out multiple commerce-oriented initiatives in Rio.

Visa partnered with Swatch to introduce an NFC-enabled watch in Brazil, allowing consumers to pre-load funds into their associated bank accounts and make a purchase within seconds (see story).

Additionally, the financial marketer hoped to drive a resurgence in interest for wearables by rolling out a payment ring enabling athletes at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games to make purchases by tapping the accessory against any NFC-compatible terminal (see story).

Both Visa and Uber may garner a plethora of new fans following their worldwide partnership, especially among sports fans that are unable to personally attend the Olympics in Rio.

“The activation of Visa and Uber partnering up to give a discount during the one-day test may or may not result in both Visa and Uber gaining a slew of new customers, but will certainly give a great indication of how well promotions work when brands combine their efforts,” Ms. Troutman said.

“If the test is successful, I’m sure you’ll start to see more brands working together to make their existing customers’ lives easier and help them gain new customers by word-of-mouth via social media.”