MasterCard Asks Oscar Viewers to Fill in Blanks

NEW YORK After eight years of providing “Priceless” moments for consumers, MasterCard International on Sunday will ask viewers of ABC’s Sunday broadcast of the 78th Academy Awards to create their own.

Two new commercials breaking on the Oscars feature the long-running “Priceless” template—the purchase and the price—but leave the product blank. Consumers are asked to fill in the blanks at Priceless.com, a new lifestyle and entertainment Web site launched by the company to provide a “weekly guide to life’s adventures.”

In “Typewriter,” directed by Stephen Gaghan (Syriana, Traffic), a man sits in front of a typewriter in the middle of a pasture, as a woman on a motorcycle makes her way down the road in the distance. As she rides up to him, the man bangs out the final price tag and gets on the bike behind her. The voiceover announces the prices throughout, “Blank, $110,” until the final “Blank, Priceless.”

In “Sailboat,” directed by Malcolm Venville, a man in a small boat rows towards a larger one and hands the man on it an envelope. The man on the larger boat reads it, smiles, throws the letter in the air, and then dives into the water. The voiceover sums up, “Blank, Blank, Blank, Priceless.”

“We see at least one or two spoofs a week,” said Pete Jones, group creative director at McCann Erickson in New York. “We thought how could we make that bridge from the campaign to the consumers and create a dialogue.”

One winning entrant that best completes either of the two spots will be selected and used to re-create the commercial in the consumer’s own words. The re-created spot will air in the third quarter of 2006.

In addition to Jones, who also served as copywriter on the ads, agency production credits include Joyce King Thomas, chief creative officer; Chris Cereda, associate creative director and art director; and Greg Lotus, producer.