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NEW CAMPAIGN FROM MASTERCARD DESIGNED TO SET BRAND APART FROM BROADENED COMPETITION; CAMPAIGN POSITIONS CARD AS SMART WAY TO PAY

 NEW YORK, Feb. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- MasterCard International today unveiled its highly anticipated new advertising campaign with the first two commercials in an initial pool that signals an evolution in the card association's marketing communications. The campaign departs from the imagery and style of typical credit card advertising while communicating that consumers are smart for choosing MasterCard because it is so useful. In fact, the commercials, created by Ammirati & Puris, Inc., the New York-based advertising agency selected by MasterCard last August, will air nationally on Feb. 28.
 "Our new advertising campaign marks another milestone in the evolution of our value strategy," said Peter. S.P. Dimsey, president of MasterCard's U.S. region. "The hallmark of MasterCard's value is the brand's usefulness. This deceptively simple idea is the cornerstone of a relevant, realistic and powerful statement about what MasterCard can deliver to cardholders." MasterCard's "More value for the way we really live" marketing strategy is credited in 1992 with helping the card association to turn around its 14-year market share decline.
 Umbrella Approach Differentiates Brand and Products
 A central theme in the new campaign is that cardholders can be smart about the way they use their cards if they understand what the card can do for them. The commercials promote MasterCard's flagship consumer product offerings under an umbrella theme, style and approach. The commercials feature a new endline: "MasterCard. It's More Than a Credit Card. It's Smart Money(TM)." and project a refreshing and disarming personality, while providing consumers with an unprecedented amount of product information.
 "How you speak to consumers is as important as what you say to them," said James Desrosier, MasterCard vice president of advertising. "Treating the card as a tool and calling it money helps the consumer to understand that they can actually manage their use of the card. MasterCard is money that works in more ways and places than other forms of payment. And this campaign and tagline say this in a very approachable style using language that is a familiar part of everyone's life."
 Positioning MasterCard as more than a credit card establishes an important platform for the card association as it moves into the future. "The campaign communicates an important and fundamental truth about MasterCard," said Daniel T. Murray, senior vice president of marketing at MasterCard. "The fact is, MasterCard offers more than credit card products and our product and service offerings are expanding quickly. The new campaign uses our flagship consumer products as the spearhead of the rapidly evolving MasterCard franchise."
 Distinctive Personality Created for the Brand
 The commercials promote both MasterCard regular and gold cards under an umbrella approach that is decidedly different than any other credit card advertising. All spots use the same voice-over, branding device, personality and tone. MasterCard's mainline product commercials focus on the every day utility of the card and the new places and ways the cared can be used. By contrast, Gold MasterCard commercials focus more on the card user and convey a more relaxed and confident user image while imparting key information about Gold-specific benefits, services and features.
 In addition to the central message, the narrator's voice and easygoing language will help create a distinct image and personality for MasterCard. The voice of Rob Morrow, star of CBS's award-winning "Northern Exposure" series, begins each commercial by telling the audience that a credit card can't really change your life but then he slowly reconsiders until he decides that, maybe, the right credit card -- like the right tool -- could help you in lots of ways to be a little smarter in managing your everyday financial needs.
 "It's amazing how just giving people information they weren't aware of makes them feel dramatically better about our brand," said Desrosier. "Even generic features, like a monthly statement, can play an important role because consumers are starved for insights into how to use their cards smarter. And consumers today definitely want to feel smart about credit cards. They just need some useful help."
 Intended to Break Away from Category and Media Clutter
 The opening volleys of MasterCard's new campaign are designed to separate MasterCard from its competitors and stand out against the increasingly cluttered background media.
 "MasterCard's category is more cluttered, crowded and competitive than ever," said Martin Puris, president of Ammirati & Puris," and our challenge was very clear from the start. We had to do something quite different with MasterCard's advertising to build awareness faster and to re-engage a consumer who is increasingly inclined to tune out advertising. That meant making people want MasterCard not for its executions per se, but for its benefits. The message connects very strongly to consumers' feelings and needs. We think we've got a terrific long-term idea here that will win."
 Media buys for the new campaign are being marshaled by DeWitt Media, Inc., of New York. The plan is built on the foundation of the association's learning, but enhanced to deliver record advertising weight levels while sustaining a continuous national presence. The new commercials will appear in network, cable ad syndicated television, spot radio and a variety of print vehicles. "It will be difficult for anyone to not see MasterCards' new work," said Gene DeWitt, president of DeWitt Media. "We're going to surround them."
 Future executions will debut later in March. Introductory spots are in :60 and :30 versions and the campaign will be extended into radio and print.
 -0- 2/26/93
 /CONTACT: Steve Apesos of MasterCard International, 212-649-5476/


CO: MasterCard International ST: New York IN: FIN SU:

CK-TS -- NY029 -- 0853 02/26/93 12:23 EST
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Date:Feb 26, 1993
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