One of the reasons Adam Broitman, MasterCard’s vice president of global digital marketing, wanted to work at the company was because of the card issuer’s timeless, beloved “Priceless” campaign.
Do you remember the very first “Priceless” commercial in 1997? A dad takes his son to a baseball game and pays for a hot dog and a drink, but the conversation between the two is priceless. “There are some things money can’t buy. For everything else, there’s MasterCard.” The campaign has been running for almost 17 years now, evolving to give digital a seat in the marketing mix.
Here are three things CMOs can learn from the popular campaign and its evolution:
1. You’ve Got To Be Thinking Digitally
To help “Priceless” live in the digital age, MasterCard evolved the campaign in 2011 to enable these once-in-a-lifetime experiences through “Priceless Cities.” For example, for the Broadway show “Rock of Ages,” MasterCard didn’t just offer card members the opportunity to buy tickets for a cheaper rate, like other card companies are doing. People who bought tickets were also invited to rehearse with the “Rock of Ages” cast and have a walk-on role. Today the campaign helps MasterCard curate these experiences.
“The original 'Priceless' campaign was about showing these so-called priceless experiences in print and on TV,” Broitman told CMO.com in an exclusive interview. “People would go and make their own versions, talk and create conversations around it. But we evolved it into Priceless Cities, which is about enabling these types of moments.”
To give the campaign legs and wider reach, MasterCard devised some really cool promotions of its Priceless Cities. For example, it ran a Facebook campaign where it gave New Yorkers who bought seats to a Yankees game “VIP seats.” The card company literally took seats from the original Yankee Stadium, which was demolished in 2012, and brought them in for card members who purchased the deal.
2. You Need A Good 'Big Idea'
The big idea is not dead. You have to have a solid premise, which, for MasterCard, are these experiences. It’s something that resonates with people. The idea didn’t change with the digital component. Only the platforms changed.
“Before there was social media, there was just social,” Broitman said. “Today brands create these campaigns and because of digital they go viral. But it did not happen like that in 1997. Priceless went viral without the Internet. The campaign works because the idea of priceless moments is something very endearing. People can relate to it. MasterCard knew that the idea behind priceless was brilliant, as was the execution, so the digital component needed to stay true to that formula.”
3. Stay On-Brand
Bringing this campaign into the digital and social media space helped MasterCard scale the campaign’s message. Today the campaign runs in more than 200 countries in all different languages.
“Priceless Cities” makes sense for MasterCard, it's very on-brand, and a perfect complement to the commercials we've all come to know.
“Priceless Cities curates experiences that money can’t buy,” Broitman said. “It’s these amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experiences.”