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JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s Chase Card Services unit, which is offering a rewards card designed for wealthy customers (CardLine, 8/19), developed the program based on customer research into the segment's needs, Sean O'Reilly, Chase Card Services general manager, tells CardLine. Chase designed the Sapphire card for the top-earning 15% of U.S. households, and it set out to achieve the goals of CEO Gordon Smith, who reorganized Chase Card Services in 2007 to focus more on customer segments, says O'Reilly. Program development focused on rewards, servicing and worldwide acceptance. "We did a massive research study where we looked across all cardholder segments to see where there was a heavy concentration of affluent consumers," O'Reilly says. "We looked at their behavior and their rational and emotional needs, and did analysis to get the features and benefits that were of the highest importance to them" as well as ones they would use. The card program offers extensive travel services, access to 24-hour customer service and participation in Chase's Ultimate Rewards, a program announced in May (CardLine, 6/4) that enables cardholders to earn points on purchases in rotating categories and to redeem points for items from an Amazon.com-based product Web site. The level of customer service the affluent segment expects directed Chase to develop such special services as Chase Global Lifeline, which helps stranded travelers or those who have lost their wallets, O'Reilly notes. The Sapphire program also gives specially trained customer-service representatives the power to resolve issues in one service call. Chase is committed to gaining market share in the affluent space and believes its program development and supportive marketing campaign will help achieve that goal, O'Reilly says. "Our investment to build out this product set and servicing platform is a big part of making an investment in the awareness and consideration" in the affluent segment, he says. The company is starting an integrated marketing campaign today, including television, print, newspaper and online advertising, Chase says. TV ads, called "Dress" and set to Frank Sinatra's "The Way You Look Tonight," will appear on such major networks as the Travel Channel, Fox and CNBC. Print ads will appear in such magazines as Conde Nast Traveler, Vanity Fair, Golf, bon appetit and BusinessWeek.

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