“He’s really passionate about the mission of how to help people make the most of their money, how to help people become financially healthy,” says Kristin Lemkau, chief marketing officer at Chase. She noted that Hart’s interest in physical fitness is an asset for events like the JP Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge annual race, which is expanding.
Hart had been scheduled to host the 91st Academy Awards next month, but stepped down after homophobic tweets from several years ago surfaced. In early January, the debacle continued when Ellen DeGeneres asked Hart to reconsider hosting, following his apologies. But the Oscars are currently slated to air without a host, according to Variety.
Chase’s decision to tap Hart as a spokesman was in the works before the Oscars debate. Lemkau notes he has handled the issue appropriately. “This is consistent with the way we would approach a problem—if you make a mistake, acknowledge it, live up to it and try to correct it,” she says.
Chase does not plan to air any ads during the awards.
In addition to helping to promote the Corporate Challenge event in his native Philadelphia, Hart will be featured in content around financial health and star in a handful of spots around the Freedom card. That card gives users 1.5 percent cash back, and Hart stresses the importance of learning about “earning” in the commercials. The 30-second spots will also appear in shorter 15- and 6-second edits as well as in GIFs. Chase worked with its agencies Droga5 and VaynerMedia.
Hart joins Chase’s other brand ambassadors, including Serena Williams and James Corden.