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Discover Card’s Orange Carpet Ride


If you spend more than 10 minutes outside and dare take a quick look around, you’re almost guaranteed to see marketing somewhere. Whether or not you like it, unfortunately it’s there and always will be so you’ll have to get used to it.

Even though I’m a marketer, I sometimes even feel overwhelmed by how many messages and brands are “throwing” themselves at me at once. I do appreciate a marketing experience when done right–executed in a tasteful manner and has a purpose.

There are a handful of these experiences that I can think of top of mind, but the one that truly stands out above them all was my experience within the gates of Six Flags New England. The brand responsible for this great brand experience: Discover Card.

Discover Card has always been the black sheep in the credit card game. They aren’t accepted everywhere, just like American Express. But, unlike American Express they don’t carry the allure as a cardholder. They were the first credit card that comes to mind that offered above average cash back rewards, and they were the first to really understand and invest in customer service loyalty for a non-membership card.

What baffles my mind, is even with all of this high praise, they still rank 3rd in credit card holder in the U.S., slightly above that of American Express which the majority of their cards require a annual fee. But, back to the brand experience, and what makes me a proud Discover Card cardholder. Last summer, I made a trip to New England to visit a few friends and family. We planned to go to Six Flags New England for a day. Couldn’t have been more excited to go to a theme park I had not yet been to and test out their roller coasters.

Even before I had my tickets, I was already being ‘thanked’ for being a Discover Card cardholder when in the process of purchasing my tickets online. As I went through the purchase process, I was funneled to this link within the Six Flags website that really caught my attention. Here, they were promoting all of the benefits of having your Discover Card on you while getting ready for your Six Flags adventure. And, they did a great job of have a call to action to Apply Now for a Discover Card, ideally getting users to sign up on the spot once they realize how much they can save.

One of the key benefits was if I were to use my Discover Card while purchasing my tickets I would automatically save 5% off and again on all in park purchases. What better place to promote the savings and the benefits of the card while a user is about to purchase not-so-cheap tickets for a family. All of this was followed up by a confirmation email reminding me of these benefits, and oh yeah, and a ‘Apply Now’ link. Awesome.

Being that I purchased my tickets somewhat in advance, I forgot about this come the day in which we were going to the park. But, no worries. Upon leaving the parking lot and on my way to the park entrance, there were banners and signs in the patented Discover orange, black and white Discover Card Great Brand Experiencethat reminded me to use my Discover to save 5% on purchases inside the park. Now I remembered and was happy I had my Discover card on me.

It didn’t stop there. While we were waiting in line to enter the park, I noticed a ‘Discover Cardmember Entrance’ which allowed cardholders to skip avoid the big lines when entering the park or what I like to call the orange carpet treatment. Even though I had to wait on my non-Discover Cardholder friends, it was still just nice to avoid the line and already be in the park. Already worth it!

Discover Card Great Brand ExperienceOnce inside the park, the action didn’t stop. Many of the lamp post had banners and signage promoting the Discover 5% savings program. There were various other promotional signs informing cardholders the benefits of having a Discover card on hand. Most notably, there was a Discover Card Ride of the Day that allowed you to skip the line for that particular ride. At most cash registers within the park there were reminders that if you used your Discover Card you would save 5% instantly on your purchase. Just in case ALL of the signage before didn’t catch your attention or you just forgot.

Overall, I felt like a true king having my Discover Card on me that day. From the orange carpet treatment to the instant 5% saving on all purchases within the park the experience was great from a consumer point of view. From a marketer’s point of view, Discover did a great job in setting up the experience for the user and bringing the offline campaign, online and driving users to apply for their card.


Paul Arterburn is a Co-founder and the Head of Product at Brandfolder, a Techstars Boulder 2013 company. In this capacity, Paul is responsible for overall product vision and execution. This includes managing the development and design processes, constructing and executing the product roadmap, and deploying code daily. Paul is nearing the magic 10,000 hour mark of coding through the dedication of learning 15 different coding languages over the past 15 years. Daring and scrappy, Paul is ready to leave the Web better than he found it: this is what drove him to found Brandfolder. Me in 3: • Movies people can’t believe I don’t like: Star Trek and Star Wars. • My secret talent: As a songwriter my first songs at age 16 were about all girls, and my latest about just one - my fiancé. • My first invention: A wrestling move dubbed 'The Bob Dole' still used across the state of Nebraska today.

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