Why Mastercard Is Adding a Charitable Aspect to Its Long-Running ‘Priceless’ Campaign

Working with McCann to expand 20-year-old campaign

Mastercard worked on expanding the 20-year-old campaign with McCann. Getty Images
Headshot of Kristina Monllos

Mastercard has added a new wrinkle to its famed Priceless campaign, which has already spanned two decades. The company worked with its creative agency, McCann, for the last year to develop the addition to the campaign. Called “Start Something Priceless,” the new effort is meant to inspire people to do something they have always wanted to do—read more, exercise regularly—while also inspiring them to make a difference.

“Priceless used to be about Priceless moments, observing them and celebrating them,” explained Raja Rajamannar, chief marketing and communications officer at Mastercard. “What we also looked at was that Priceless was mostly used as an advertising platform and we said that’s probably shortchanging ourselves. Priceless should be infused into everything we do in marketing and everything we do as a company.”

Mastercard works with charitable programs like the World Food Programme and Stand Up to Cancer as well as encouraging careers in STEM.  The company is using “Start Something Priceless” to encourage people to commit to their passions as well as push to change the communities around them through doing good.

Part of the push to make the Priceless campaign hit various touch points in people’s lives is the changing advertising landscape, with more and more people using AdBlockers or streaming sites that don’t have advertising. Rajamannar has been argued that storytelling is dead and that consumers are looking for experiences from brands. Now Rajamannar is looking to move past experiences and into a deeper connection with consumers.

“If you look at consumers, research has shown that more than 80 percent of the people believe that brands have the power to do something, change something, bring about a movement,” said Rajamannar. “More than 80 percent plus also feel that the brand should be bold and stand for what it believes in, that’s what makes it authentic to them. This was one inspiration for us. When you’re doing a campaign you look at three pillars: How do you strengthen the brand, how do you drive the business and how do you establish a competitive differentiation? This campaign seems to be firing on all of these three cylinders very well.”

The company will be using the properties it sponsors, like the upcoming Grammy Awards, to tout the new charitable aspect of its Priceless campaign.


@KristinaMonllos kristina.monllos@adweek.com Kristina Monllos is a senior editor for Adweek.