Mastercard and McCann Found a Charming, Customizable Way to Unite the World’s Top Athletes

'The Red Ball' tells a story that can feature different stars in different regions

A dog's lost red ball sparks a frantic, widespread hunt featuring...well, anyone Mastercard wants to feature in a given market. McCann
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Any creative who’s had to develop an ad concept involving a ton of A-list talent knows that the secret to maintaining your sanity and budget is to film each star separately, making the production process nice and modular.

Mastercard and agency McCann have taken that approach to its logical next evolution with their new “Together, Everything Is Possible” campaign that will debut across 45 countries with the tagline “Start Something Priceless.”

The core spot anchoring the campaign, “The Red Ball,” tells a charming story of a young girl, her dog and the loss of a favorite toy. What ensues is a madcap scramble across countless locales, with pro athletes using all their talents and tricks to try rescuing the ball.

While it’s creatively a good ad, what’s most impressive is that it was designed with regional customization in mind, meaning that the Mastercard marketing team can tell the same story in many different ways around the world. So some audiences might see their favorite rugby and fútbol stars, while others might see the ad focused on tennis and golf athletes.

In case you missed any of the starpower in the spot, it features Lionel Messi, Neymar Jr, Dan Carter, Bryan Habana, Annika Sorenstam, Ana Ivanovic and Valeri Kamensky.

“People today expect more than a great product,” said Raja Rajamannar, chief marketing and communications officer for Mastercard, in a statement about the campaign launch. “They expect brands to have a point of view, and it’s through ‘Start Something Priceless’ that we show ours. We’ve always been a brand focused on experiences over things, and are thrilled to see our global ambassadors uniting to demonstrate in a light-hearted way, that together, everything is possible.”

The creative, which primarily focuses on featuring Mastercard’s tap-and-go payment functionality, will be customized to run in markets across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and Asia.

Keen-eared viewers will also notice that sonic branding plays a key role in the ad, with the plinking sound of a Mastercard payment recurring throughout.


Raja Rajamannar – Chief Marketing & Communications Officer
Monica Biagiotti – Consumer Marketing & Sponsorships Executive VP
Cristina Paslar – Consumer Marketing VP
Mel Clements – Digital & Social Marketing VP
Natalia Umeoka – Consumer Marketing Senior Specialist
Jennifer Ziemer – Digital & Social Manager
Jazmin Sagastiverza – Digital & Social Senior Specialist

Agency/Production: McCann XBC

Joyce King Thomas – Chairman, Chief Creative Officer McCann XBC
Pierre Lipton – Global Creative Director
Adrian Botan – Global Creative Director
Pete Jones – EVP, Executive Creative Director
Joel Rodriguez – EVP, Executive Creative Director
Mikayla Lapierre – Junior Art Director
Dhanush Paramesh – Senior Copy Writer
Hetu Negri – Senior Creative
Juan Peirano – Senior Art Director

Nicolas Guzman – Managing Director
Ann Carey – SVP, Executive Account Director
Jessica Deacon – VP, Account Director
Nader Nemati – Account Executive
Nick Hird – Regional Business Director

Production – McCann New York
Dave Herman – SVP, Executive Producer

Oriol Bombi – EVP Global Strategy Director
Andrew Augeri – VP, Strategy Director
Danielle Johnsen Karr – VP, Social Strategy Director
Katie Cleaver – Global Strategy Director
Eden Ben-Haim – Senior Strategist
Rosalind Mowitt – Senior Strategist

Athenea Harrington – Lead Executive Producer
Valentina Barbazza – Senior Producer
Juan Pérez de Rozas – Producer
Paloma Bido – Producer
Nathan Thompson – Creative Content Manager
Andrew Aldridge – Senior Editor

Landia Films
Rodrigo Saavedra – Director
Nicolas Cabuche – Executive Producer
Maria Silva – Producer
Charli Ritter – DoP
Cristina Cavanillas – Production Manager

Carles Carabí
Rita Puig-Serra
Cesar Lucadamo Guzmán
Ferran Capo
Sebastian Mayer

@griner David Griner is creative and innovation editor at Adweek and host of Adweek's podcast, "Yeah, That's Probably an Ad."