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Cards from CIBC, TD Bank and Aeroplan as shown Thursday, June 27, 2013 in Montreal. (Ryan Remiorz/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Cards from CIBC, TD Bank and Aeroplan as shown Thursday, June 27, 2013 in Montreal. (Ryan Remiorz/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Brawl for Canadian credit card customers intensifies Add to ...

Persuasion Notebook offers quick hits on the business of persuasion from The Globe and Mail’s marketing and advertising reporter, Susan Krashinsky. Read more on The Globe’s marketing page and follow Susan on Twitter @Susinsky.

Another company has dropped the gloves in the brawl for Canadian credit card customers.

This week, Capital One Canada launched a new advertising campaign filled with hockey imagery starring Martin Short, in an attempt to get Canadians’ attention and convince them to switch to its Aspire Travel Word MasterCard. The ads were created by agency Taxi 2.

It is just the latest company to invest in heavier advertising in the travel rewards credit card space: competition has intensified thanks to a change in the Aeroplan loyalty program last year. Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, which is now splitting the Aeroplan program with Toronto-Dominion Bank, has pledged to spend $50-million in the first year of its new Aventura rewards card to advertise that product. In November, partly to combat confusion over the changes, Aeroplan parent company Aimia Inc. launched the biggest campaign in its history to promote the benefits of its program.

The new Capital One campaign focuses on ease of redemption – a strategy Royal Bank of Canada has also employed – and implicitly accusing other programs of headaches such as blackout dates and expiring rewards. American Express Canada also increased its advertising spending in the Canadian market, last year.

Rewards cards like this are an important marketing battleground for banks: consumers that are otherwise incredibly resistant to switching their financial institution can sometimes be convincde to add a credit card if it provides benefits. That gives banks a way in to communicate with those customers in the future.

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