VISA Asia Pacific has launched a regional TV commercial (TVC) that features the animated personality Lara Croft from the Tomb Raider video game.
Visa said the ad, titled Monster Chase, began airing in cinemas in 12 Asia Pacific markets on July 24 at the same time as the movie Lara Croft Tomb Raider II: The Cradle of Life hit the big screen.
It said Malaysian cinemas would run the commercial, with 60 and 120-second versions, from July 31.
The spot, which falls under Visa's All It Takes brand advertising campaign, will also be broadcast on Visa's website, www.visa-asia.com.
In Monster Chase, the animated Lara Croft interacts with her real-life counterpart in a cliff-hanging drama blending elaborate animation with action and stunts, Visa said in a statement.
Shot in Prague and set in the surreal surroundings of the 850-year-old Strahov Monastery, Monster Chase opens with someone playing the Tomb Raider video game.
Pursued by the monster in the game, the animated Lara Croft reaches out for help from the player, who turns out to be a real-life Lara Croft (played by US-based Hispanic actress Sofia Vergara), and secures escape by swiping a Visa card.
The same sequence is subsequently played back in the real world, where the animated monster comes alive and the real Lara Croft gets back her lifeline, a Visa card, from her animated double.
Visa Asia Pacific executive vice-president (marketing and product sales) Rajiv Kapoor said Monster Chase carried on the momentum of Visa's All It Takes campaign launched in late 2001.
Monster Chase is the fourth commercial in this campaign following Dining Out (starring Zhang Ziyi), Going Out (starring Liv Tyler) and Tuk Tuk (starring Pierce Brosnan and Zhang Ziyi).
The pre-launch consumer research we conducted recently (for Monster Chase) reflects very encouraging feedback from our target audience, he said.
According to Kapoor, consumers surveyed said that Monster Chase has successfully captures audience's attention by differentiating itself strongly from other credit card advertisement.
By showing that Visa is always there when one needs it, the message of 'empowerment' comes through strongly, he added.
Visa is a leading payment brand with more than 1.1 billion cards in circulation worldwide.
There are now more than 365 million Visa cards in the Asia Pacific.