Brand: Chase Freedom (JPMorgan Chase)
Target: Reward card holders (both points and cash back)
Reviewer: Bob Bader
Description:Â The McGarry Bowen spot announces a new credit card, Chase Freedom, that provides the option of choosing reward points or cash back.Â Â Â The execution opens with a reveal of the new Chase Freedom credit card.Â The card rotates into a horizontal plane to serve as the flat-earthly platform for a vacationing couple, who traverse the card while a tropical beach scene sprouts upon them.Â The voiceover announces the ability to use the card to earn points (hence the vacation setting) or get cash back â€“ and the flexibility to switch between the two.Â To illustrate this, the beach scene dissolves through the credit card and is transformed into a flow of dollars, and then back again into the tropics (an effect reminiscent of the old paper-to-dollar magic trick ).
The Chase Freedom concept – a best-of-both-worlds solution – is communicated clearly in this spot with an introductory, breakthrough tone – and a touch of hyperbole.Â Chase has unshackled consumers from a world of reward card tradeoffs, freeing them to pursue their dreams in ways undreamt of before.Â This positioning aligns well with the Chase brand tagline, â€œYour Choice, Your Chase.â€
Next, the spot adroitly employs the Fatboy Slim â€œIâ€™m Freeâ€ remix for content reinforcement.Â The timelessness of the base tune is significant.Â Were 80â€™s products peddled to the melodic strains of Tommy Dorsey?Â Interestingly, the Jagger audio isnâ€™t heard until about a third of the way into the execution, a delay that amplifies its impact, helping to turn functional features into existential empowerment.
Finally, the tropics-to-dollars metamorphosis is confusing.Â However, in the post-Tivo age, ambiguity in the eye of the beholder may be the price of entry for repeated viewership.Â Today, the archetypal P&G product demo may only create detachment from peripatetic viewers.
What Doesnâ€™t Work:
Chase Freedom mimics successful products from Capital One (No Hassles Rewards) and Citibank (PremierPass), so there is no news here.Â The freedom message is being played out in different ways from the recently defunct Citi “Roman and Victor” spots to the “Stranded in the Antarctic” spots for CapitalOne Rewards.
Chase Freedom represents a strategic foray into the land of sub-branded products, vs. the current Chase branded products.Â Managing one or more sub-brands can be deceptively difficult.Â Will dollars committed to Chase Freedom help differentiate the parent Chase brand equity, building brand share over time?Â Or will it prove equity dilutive, with a sub-branded product focus leading to fragmented media spending and messaging?
The current inquiries in the U.S. Congress on credit card industry practices including hidden credit card fees also creates some risk for the Chase Freedom card.Â Unless the card is truly ‘free’ of huge late fees, interest-rate jackups and the other mean, consumer-unfriendly tricks that so pervade this industry, the positioning of this card will seem ironic rather than progressive.
Branding Bottom Line:
Chase joins Capital One and Citi with an initiative the credit card industry should have provided ages ago – reward flexibility.