Friday, April 18, 2014

  • Friday, April 18, 2014
  • Elder of Ziyon
I, and a bunch of other people, received a response from Visa Middle East about the apparent Visa sponsorship of El Kebar, where a vile blood libel was published this week.

We are aware that a Visa-branded advert has appeared in Egypt's El Kebar magazine. We can confirm that the advert was not placed by Visa, nor do not directly advertise in this magazine. Visa provides marketing materials and use of its logo to its partners who wish to market Visa-branded products. We are investigating whether this is another parties' advertisement making use of our brand and will address accordingly. Visa condemns intolerance of any kind and is working to resolve this quickly.
There was a similar reply on the comments section of the blog by Andy Woolnough, a Visa employee based out of the UAE (whose position I did not catch.)

I called Woolnough up to understand more about how these partnership agreements work and who the partner might have been. I also wondered how a partner would link back to a Visa website itself.

He told me that Visa has no direct relationship with the consumer, and all of the cards it issues are through banks. When Visa is promoting a product or sponsored events it doesn't do it directly but creates marketing materials and their partners (usually banks) market it directly to consumers.

They are working hard to figure out who the partner is for these ads. The Egypt Post seems likely as their name is on the ad, but since this is a Friday as well as Easter weekend this is taking longer than it normally would. "This content is intolerant, we can all agree to that."

Once the partner is determined they will "have a conversation" about it. When pressed for more details, Andy said that everything is dependent on the specifics of the partnership agreement they have to figure out what can be done. When I asked what would be done if the partnership agreement didn't cover circumstances like this - would Visa sue to protect its brand? - he responded that he highly doubts that the agreement has such an omission; as Visa is one of the top brands in the world.

He emphasized that certainly Visa did not place the ad directly and it has no direct relationship with El Kebar.

Woolnough also said that "the highest levels of the company are aware" of this situation.

For my part, I told Andy that my goal was not to denigrate Visa's name but to pressure Arab media to understand that publishing hate has consequences, and that Visa was my lever to get their attention. So I am keenly interested in finding out who this partner is and in contacting them for a statement about how this happened and what they intend to do about it. Unfortunately, if it is The Egypt Post they probably don't give a damn about an antisemitic article, which is why I need Visa to protect its own brand and dissociate itself from a magazine that publishes such hate.

He promised me that he would keep me informed as he finds out more, and I told him I would keep my readers informed as well.

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