MasterCard's "Priceless" Approach to IMC

June 15, 2006

Executive Summary

MasterCard's iconic "Priceless" campaign is everywhere. MasterCard has done a phenomenal job integrating the campaign beyond television, using both traditional and nontraditional media. A few examples are the launch of, consumer promotions throughout the year, including "Write Your Own Priceless Ad," and various sponsorship partnerships.

Their approach to integration is systematic and methodical. "Priceless" has become a part of every user touch point and communications. "Priceless", as a brand idea, builds the business and helps drive integration.


MasterCard's integrated marketing in 1997:

  • No consistent marketing or advertising
  • Lack of customer confidence
  • Seriously outgunned by competition
  • No clear positioning
  • Competition on the rise

Yankelovich detected a trend in the late 90s where people looked at relationships. Today: MasterCard brand value has been transformed and is globalized:

  • Informed by research
  • Positioned to be differentiated
  • Loved by consumers
  • Resonates with our customers
  • Marketing organization is structured appropriately for integration

Priceless is more than an advertising campaign. It's a billion dollar asset that consumers know and love... Now showing in 105 countries and 48 languages.

Evolution of Priceless in Integration

  • Ad Campaign

  • Brand awareness

  • Brand relevance

  • Brand differentiation

  • Business Driver

  • Drive Usage

  • Deliver Customer and Merchant Value

  • Build Product Awareness/ Education

  • Relationship builder

  • Maximize digital trends

  • Leverage consumer passion surrounding campaign










A three pronged approach to integration. For them, a lot less about linking the different mediums and more about linking the various components of the marketplace-merchants, issuers and consumers:

Merchant Marketing Support: Support merchants by providing tools and assets that increase usage at acceptance locations

Issuer Marketing Support: Customized & turnkey marketing solutions leveraging MasterCard assets that address specific Issuer business needs.

MasterCard Consumer Marketing: Build brand and usage through programs, strategic placement, and messaging.

"Priceless" Lifting Promotions

  • Promotional programs targeted at key consumer spending periods: Summer and Holidays
  • Campaigns developed to achieve maximum customer participation
  • Organizational structure redesigned to facilitate integration

Tactical elements include TV advertising with promotional tags, merchant materials and issuer materials.

Case Study

A Home for the Holidays sweepstakes (Chance for lucky contestants to win a home. Executed during the 2005 holiday season)


  • Usage Message for promotion; support key growth segment: grocery
  • Creative leveraged for US Hispanic market and by Canada

Brand Engagement

  • Dedicated promotional
  • Microsite,
  • Exclusive web film featured online only

Merchant Value

  • Double Entries at Sears
  • Usage offer in key markets to drive traffic and promotion awareness

Brand PR/Consumer Involvement

  • 34 Million earned impressions

Issuer Marketing Support

  • Turnkey DM support
  • In branch communication
  • PayPass materials
  • Total participation: 167
  • Total distribution: 76 million

Citi/Sears Co-brand

  • Double entries on any card purchase
  • Customized DM















Effectiveness of advertising in driving usage continues to grow. Ever since MasterCard instituted their integrated campaign, all key indicators in the marketing mix are positive.

  • Integrated business approach drove immediate results
  • Advertising works harder when utilized with an integrated approach
  • Integrated promotions more effective at driving volume

Priceless has Contributed to MasterCard's Re-Launch into Digital Space

"It is time for us to maximize how we will use of the medium for purposes of consumer engagement."

Amy Fuller, Group Executive, Americas Marketing Consumer Group,
MasterCard International






The numbers don't lie:

  • On-line represents 15% of media consumption, and...
  • A growing share of payments are moving online
    • 2005 online purchase volume was $143B + 22% YOY
    • Holiday alone (Nov/Dec) represented $28 billion
    • Online environment resonates with key Market Segments

"Priceless" on the Internet is an interactive and upscale site, delivering priceless experiences and offers that reflect the interests and style of today's affluent consumer. The original site did not resonate with key consumers. Supercharged launch of the site started with the "Write a Priceless Ad" campaign.

"Write A Priceless Ad"

Builds on the inherent interactivity of Priceless. Consumer generated content had been happening for years and this campaign was a way to harness.


  • Consumers write their own Priceless commercials and  submit them online at
  • The winner is aired on TV with no recognition
  • 100,000 entries submitted, most all a very high quality
  • Over 795,000 visits since launch; 4.1MM page views
  • Over 60 unsolicited placements within the online "Blogosphere"

Complete Success Calls for Complete Integration

  • Define a vision for integration across the business--moving beyond pure executional integration
  • Plan early
  • Manage relentlessly
  • Start with strong brand idea
  • Integrated promotions and sponsorships strengthen results

Priceless has played a role in enhancing customer and merchant relationships.


"MasterCard's "Priceless" Approach to IMC." Amy Fuller. ANA Masters of Integrated Marketing Conference, 06/15/06.