Bolder Thinking Blog

Discover rediscovers the yes/no campaign

January 28th, 2021 | Nick Batt

Discover has recently ramped up online video and TV spend for its “yes/no” campaign for the Discover it credit card, which debuted a year ago.

Discover launched the “yes/no” campaign during the 2020 Super Bowl

In a strategy different from the basic 30-second Super Bowl ad buy made by many brands, Discover it credit card decided to emerge twice during Super Bowl LIV’s broadcast to increase its likelihood of sticking in viewers’ minds.

The creation of multiple versions of creative also allowed Discover to reach different groups of consumers with different messages, and give itself the ability to determine if one ad creative performed better over the other.

Source: Comperemedia Omni (1/1/20 to 12/31/20) as of 1/12/21

“Yes/no” campaign spend reached highest level since February 2020

Football continues to generate consistently high TV ratings whenever it is aired, meaning brands leveraging the sport can attain a large reach in comparison to other TV programming and media channels.

Discover, building off its early-2020 strategy, is again leaning heavily into football broadcasts as the NFL’s games become more competitive and widely watched as the season nears its conclusion.

“No” ads have recently run predominantly during TV ads during NFL broadcasts on Fox and NBC, in addition to pre-roll video ads on YouTube and Twitch.

Source: Comperemedia Omni (1/1/20 to 12/31/20) as of 1/12/21

Using a singular brand benefit to engage customers

Though pervasive and repetitive, ingraining one singular brand benefit into customers’ minds over an extended period of time can be effective. Throughout the time that the “yes/no” TV and online video campaign has been live, Discover has explicitly made clear two core brand benefits — no fees and wide acceptance — to ensure that these are the first things that consumers think about when they think of Discover it.

While this strategy lacks the depth that some customers look for when deciding between credit card products, it positions Discover it as the ultimate starter credit card, placing itself in a powerful position as hordes of new customers look for their first credit cards.

3 key takeaways for marketers

Football forward
Discover invested substantially in high-stakes football games at campaign launch, as well as lately, for its brand awareness efforts throughout 2020 and 2021. By doing so, the brand ensured its brief message of “no fees, yes accepted everywhere” could be seen by as many people as possible at once.

A simple “no” would suffice
Through its dueling “yes” and “no” creatives, Discover has brought simplicity — with a touch of nostalgia — to its messaging to effectively speak to potential customers. As of late, the brand has leaned more heavily into the “no” side of its campaign, opting to reach cash-strapped consumers with the allure of a no-fee credit card.

Repetition risk
Though the pervasive and repetitive ads have likely increased the card’s place in the consideration sets of potential credit card customers, its recent omnipresence during pro and college football commercial breaks could backfire, leading consumers to simply become annoyed with the brand and look elsewhere for a no-fee card.

Nick Batt

Nick Batt

Nick provides marketing insights through syndicated and custom reports in the telecom, financial services and sports marketing sectors, with a focus on emerging trends and new product innovation.