With tiers such as gold, platinum, titanium, and black, the financial industry has turned credit card ownership into a symbol of one’s status. Combined with perks such as miles, points, cash back, and discount offers, certain consumers have even developed a kind of loyalty to their credit card brand. Traditionally, however, this excitement has not translated to younger spenders. That is, until the Chase Sapphire card.
The Sapphire line has been uniquely popular among Millennials. Here, praise can be attributed to a team within JPMorgan that has looked to transform the mundanity of credit cards and point-earning into something more relevant to today’s spenders. Competing for attention in this space, however, have been prominent card companies like American Express that have conducted targeted outreach with younger consumers through their #AmexAccess campaign at events like Coachella.
In the case study below, we’ll take a look at how Chase used Instagram influencers to broadcast this message through their #SapphireOnLocation campaign.
When revamping their card offerings, JPMorgan put an emphasis on travel and dining. In a world where #nofilter sunsets and matcha green tea donuts can tally as many likes as a romantic wedding proposal, these activities aren’t just attractive to young spenders, they’re the fabric of today’s social media aesthetic.
Using Instagram as a medium to reach their demographic, Chase looked to take advantage of influencer marketing’s power on a platform that is a $1 billion industry and now boasts 1 billion users. Adopting a high-level strategy to realize their campaign goals, Chase partnered with macro-influencers, such as photographer Alice Gao, as well as food and travel creator No Leftovers. Additionally, for promotion of their esteemed Sapphire Reserve card, Chase chose to work with celebrity model Chrissy Teigan to highlight special offers only available to top-of-the-line card holders.
With their wide and premium approach, Chase leveraged the hashtag #SapphireOnLocation to showcase exciting meal and travel experiences gained through the use of their Sapphire cards. The campaign resulted in rich content, millions of views, and helped to raise awareness about the utility of Chase’s Sapphire line.
Photographer Alice Gao posts artful images of her adventures within her home city of New York, as well as her travels abroad. Gao’s wistful musings and slightly desaturated tones create a rich mosaic of art, slice of life, and adventure for her 953,000 followers.
For her #SapphireOnLocation partnership with Chase, Gao offered three multi-photo posts from her time in Hong Kong, as well as one of herself overlooking New York City. Each post focused on food or drink, while Gao’s Hong Kong posts provided recommendations in association with Chase’s #SapphireSix campaign.
In the NYC post, Gao makes direct mention of the Sapphire card and her relationship with points: “making the most of long summer days with my favorite combination — cocktails and fries (and the view ain’t bad) — while earning points with my @chase sapphire reserve card. #sponsored #sapphireonlocation” Continuing, Gao adds, “though, is anyone else guilty of hoarding points? i’m saving up for something good! would love to hear how you guys use your ultimate rewards points. #sapphireinsider”
Gao’s followers engaged, speaking directly to her query. Moreover, Gao took time to connect further with her followers in a casual, friendly manner:
@ericchristian Absolutely love these! .. also never spend my points, saving them for my grandchildren or something ?
@alice_gao @ericchristian ahaha! i’m either saving for like a first class ticket on singapore air or i like to use them on other people ?
@mamiiumami I’m a point hoarder too! It’s a great feeling when I use them up on flight tickets ?
@alice_gao @mandymszeto where you going?
@extracelestiali’m a point hoarder!! getting close to 600k because i’m nervous about how to use them most efficiently ??♀️
@alice_gao @extracelestial hah! i get that way too. or i’m greedy and want to earn airline miles so i don’t spend miles on my own flights.
Gao’s NYC image received 8,880 likes, while her three Hong Kong posts garnered an average of 4,545 likes each.
American model Chrissy Teigan has become a powerful presence on Instagram with 19.1 million followers. Among pictures of her family life, Teigan also mixes in promotions for her cookbook series “Cravings,” clothing line with Revolve, beauty line with Becca, and has even plugged her husband John Legend’s wine brand, Legend Vineyard Exclusives.
Teigan partnered with Chase on three posts for #SapphireOnLocation. In one, Teigan is pictured with her Sapphire Reserve card as she jokes about becoming a travel agent, linking to some of her favorite places to visit. The other two posts promote Chase’s Sapphire Sundays brunch series in Los Angeles.
Several fans chimed in about how Teigan’s posts had inspired them to explore different activities, while others chose to offer their own shout outs about the Sapphire card:
@son23evaI read a couple of your post for Chase Sapphire, it lead me to check out an Escape Room. Keep the post coming??
@pilotdispatch @chrissyteigen more of a reason to love my @chase #sapphirereserve
@spicygelato Currently in Thailand for Christmas using our Chase sapphire reserve card. By far the best travel card ?!
@thedesiredone Chase is the bomb….. Love them too…. Xo
@stefanie.barnett Just applied for the chase sapphire reserve.. because i ? @chrissyteigen and i love brunch
@leukemoidrxn @a.duttster i know you told me to get Chase Sapphire months ago, but now that I know @chrissyteigen uses chase, it’s a sign to finally open one up
Teigan’s video introducing Sapphire Sundays received over 3 million views, while her other two images received more than 100,000 and 300,000 likes, respectively.
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New York City-based food blogger, Jackie Gebel — also known as No Leftovers — has a colorful, fun, and active Instagram account with 328,000 followers. Showcasing mouthwatering eats and treats from around the world, Gebel seamlessly combines her love for food and travel in an inviting and exciting manner for her Instagram fans.
Gebel has partnered with brands such as GrubHub to offer deals and discounts, but also uses her outlet as a means to promote the causes she cares about. Working with the James Beard Foundation, Gebel has helped to raise awareness around the farm to table movement, while her partnership with Morton Salt looks to help eradicate food waste.
For her partnership around #SapphireOnLocation, Gebel produced five posts, spanning from her home of New York, to London, to Greece, to the Cayman Islands. Three of the posts were videos, including an edited montage of her trip to Stingray City off of the coast of Grand Cayman. Other posts included Gebel’s city guides associated with Chase’s #SapphireSix campaign.
On a video featuring hot raclette being served in London’s Borough Market, one of Gebel’s followers made light of the sponsored nature of the content:
@gilliehouston I just read that as “paid partnership with cheese”
Collectively, Gebel’s posts received tens of thousands of views, with many commenters tagging their friends to take part in the tempting sights.
Dining and destinations were clear themes of the #SapphireOnLocation campaign. More than just the act of eating and traveling, however, influencers focused on their experiences, showcasing specific insights, and encouraging followers to check out some of their favorite dishes and haunts.
Chase was also able to send this message across multiple tiers in the Sapphire line without veering from the essence of the campaign. While Teigan’s posts primarily focused on the extras offered through the top-of-the-line Sapphire Reserve ($450 annual fee), Gao’s images only mentioned the premiere card once, while Gebel’s more general posts presumably revolved around the basic version of the Sapphire card (no annual fee). Despite these differences, each post stayed true to the theme of the campaign.
With #SapphireOnLocation, Chase crafted a campaign that effectively communicated their value proposition to potential customers. Utilizing specific influencers who align with their sensibilities and speak to their target demographic, Chase’s campaign produced both relevant and compelling content.
With millions of views and an engaged audience, #SapphireOnLocation not only sent a message to consumers about their cards, but also showed the credit industry how they can market to younger spenders in today’s social media space.