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New chief of Japan’s SMBC bank “actively studying” acquisition of US bank

By PYMNTS,

In payments, it can be all about the brand.

Perhaps that might explain the surprise announcement that Ant Financial’s online payments platform Alipay will be linking with Visa to establish a new payment method targeted to millennials and enable acceptance at any online merchant that accepts Visa Checkout.

The stunner: Paris Hilton will be the face of the joint effort, to be named “ValiPay.”

In an announcement, the two tech and commerce juggernauts conceded that “you simply cannot get traction, or even a headline, without the word pay in it.”

They also acknowledge that the well-known fact that millennials love retro — “vintage” — and that nostalgia marketing is a surefire way to win their attention — and brand loyalty.

It also comes at a time when Paris, herself, is said to have had just about enough of the Kardashian fame when it was Paris who had a huge hand in making Kim fashionable and famous.

Embracing the 1980s Valley Girl lifestyle, a full-blown advertising campaign will kick off via the web and commercials starring the erstwhile starlet, showing her using the combined service by tapping Visa Checkout/Alipay buttons. The tagline:

“ValiPay. Everywhere You Want To Be. Like, For Sure.”

In a press conference Saturday (April 1), Hilton opined on the partnership.

“We’re just, like, smooshing the names together, but it works, right? Like smooshing Paris together, and the Hilton together, which are two places, but making a person, and … like, well, anyway, that’s that.”

“And the Kardashians can’t be the only people with credit cards. They do have one, right?”

Hilton was apparently referring to reports last year, later proved false, that the current reality series clan had launched a card.

“Because when it comes to payments, it’s all about you. I mean me,” she said.

When asked where she though the Alipay and Visa hybrid would see the most initial uptake — in the U.S. or China — Hilton replied, “Whatevs.”

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