Mastercard Priceless Cities Case Study

While rival American Express has long offered its cardholders exclusive deals, MasterCard is rolling out a series of city-wide rewards programmes, claiming to offer exclusive ‘experiences’.

The first such scheme, ‘Priceless New York’, was unveiled earlier this summer, while ‘Priceless London’ is to launch next week.

The latter, which begins on Monday (3 October), centres on a series of partnerships with attractions, hotels and restaurants, including the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Southbank Centre and the Society of London Theatre.

Cardholders will gain access to exclusive exhibitions and performances, including a concert by Brit Award-winning singer-songwriter James Morrison.

All MasterCard users will be eligible for the deals, although a handful of premium offers will be restricted to World Signia cardholders.

The activity will be promoted in a South East-focused print, outdoor and digital ad campaign, by McCann London, directing customers to the Pricelesslondon.co.uk site, where they can sign up for email updates on offers.

MasterCard UK head of marketing Paul Trueman, who joined from LG in May, said the payments brand is switching ‘Priceless moments’ for ‘Priceless experiences’, thereby ‘building further emotional engagement with consumers’.

The ‘Priceless Cities’ strategy will be widened over the next year to cities including Sydney.

Mastercard raised awareness among its target audience on Facebook and Instagram, using the latest creative ad formats for each stage of the campaign, which ran for 19 days in December 2016.

A unique Canvas was created to build awareness and consideration and help position the Priceless Journeys concept, incorporating a 360 video recorded from a helicopter above New York City skyscrapers. Viewers could change and control their perspective from their phones within the 360 experience, allowing them to explore the city from different angles.

After awareness, the campaign centered on 4 pillars: Eat, Stay, Shop, Play. Carousel ads showcased at least 2 offers and one entry per category. Mastercard created different ads by combining the 7-second NY Priceless Cities video with cinemagraphs covering restaurants, events, shopping, and hotels, each with a creative element in motion. Each category showed off its benefits through this combination of cinemagraphs, videos and static images, directing audiences to become part of the Priceless Cities program.

Throughout the campaign, the brand also took advantage of the visual nature of Instagram and developed assets specifically for the platform using a single hashtag—#pricelesscities—to position its message in an aspirational way.

Mastercard segmented its ads and developed its content strategy using Facebook’s Audience Insights, which allowed it to reach a massive audience and coverage of people age 18 and older in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and Mexico who were interested in travel, shopping, dining and entertainment.

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