SBJ/20100308/Forty Under 40

Andrew Cohen

 

Through 10 years at Momentum Worldwide and the rest of his career at Visa, Andrew Cohen has worked on every domestic sports property of any stature. Yet, he says every sponsorship pitch submitted to Visa’s U.S. headquarters in San Francisco gets reviewed.

Andrew
Cohen
Visa USA

“As far as I know, we’ve never done a sponsorship that came to us ‘over the transom,’” Cohen said, “but there’s an obligation for us to see what’s out there and stay in touch with the market.”

Cohen runs Visa’s non-Olympic and non FIFA-related sponsorships in the U.S., including the NFL, NASCAR and the Kentucky Derby, along with entertainment properties such as Broadway shows, and other music and film properties.

Age: 37
Title: Group director of partnership marketing
Company: Visa USA
Education: B.S., management, Cornell University, 1994
Family: Wife, Jessica; daughters Alex (3) and Izzy (10 months)
Career: Momentum Worldwide, working with AT&T, American Express and other accounts; joined Visa in 2004
Last vacation: Park City, Utah, last summer
Favorite books: "The Precious Present," by Spencer Johnson, and "The Alchemist," by Paulo Coelho
Favorite movie: "Goodfellas"
What’s on your iPod? Dave Matthews, Pearl Jam, Coldplay
Pet peeve: Doing things for political reasons only
Greatest achievement: Id rather say my latest achievement, which is Visas underwriting of We Are the World.
Greatest disappointment: I havent learned to play the trumpet, and my wife gave me one when we got married five years ago.
Fantasy job: To be the trumpet player in the Dave Matthews Band
Executive you most admire: Steve Jobs, for his focus and commitment to innovation and design
Business advice: Anything worth doing operates on the razors edge of chaos.

That kind of attention to detail, and Visa’s long-standing insistence on ROI measures, now heightened by its two-year-old status as a publicly traded company, are at the root of the success of Cohen, and Visa.

As a TOP Olympic sponsor since 1986, “We’ve been focused on sponsorship returns for some time, but now we’re turning the dial up,” Cohen said. “Post-recession, no one is going to be able to get away without justifying and quantifying sponsorships; before, some did.”

Cohen also rides herd on integrating top-shelf experiences into Visa’s top-shelf Signature card. So at the most recent Super Bowl, you might have found Signature cardholders on field at halftime, watching The Who perform. At the NFL draft, cardholders can earn or win the right to deliver a cap to players who are selected.

While acknowledging that no U.S. property has the reach of the NFL, Cohen takes as much pride in fashioning a promotion with Fandango, Broadway or Visa’s recent sponsorship of the “We Are the World” renaissance as he does in creating one that tied Visa and GameStop to the release of EA’s juggernaut Madden NFL video game.

“Whatever the property, it’s all about brand fit, measurable result, revenue and cardholder access opportunities,” he said.

You don’t have to have worked on every big property to know that — but it doesn’t hurt.

Back to 2010 Forty Under 40 list.

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