Mastercard is entertainingly informative with MasterPass ads

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Spots for digital payment service grabbed millennials' attention, according to Ace Metrix

Credit card brands and their creative agencies have an extremely tough assignment in terms of differentiating themselves and standing out in a crowded marketplace. Creating a strong brand identity, and memorable advertising, isn’t always enough to drive people to change what’s in their wallet. Mastercard did a great job bringing the message of meaningful experiences to their brand with their long-running "Priceless" campaign. The ads were an emotional reminder that money and things don’t always equate to happiness, using the tagline, "There are some things money can’t buy. For everything else, there’s MasterCard."

Evolving with the times, the brand recently expanded into the digital wallet fray, and again was faced with the unenviable task of differentiation. In a crowded field where user experience and security mean everything, convenience also matters to consumers. Last week, Mastercard (that’s not a typo by the way, as part of a rebrand this summer, along with a new logo, the "C" in card was changed to lowercase) began running a series of ads in support of their enhanced digital payment solution, Masterpass. The most impressive overall score went to the :60 version of "Don’t Just Buy It, Masterpass It," though the :30 version was equally strong in communication measures.

Created by McCann XBC, both versions of the ad exceeded the credit card category norm, by 17% (:60) and 5% (:30.) More telling than these overall scores is the similarity in relative strength of component measures for both, as illustrated by the Ad Personalities below. We often see an overall score driven up by Attention and Likeabilty, but the strong Information and Change factors for these ads might be more closely tied to brand KPIs. The Change score indicates viewers feel the company is moving in a new direction. While delivering information, these ads also manage to be clever and entertaining.

"Don’t Just Buy It, Masterpass It," (:60) "Don’t Just Buy It, Masterpass It" (:30)         

In order to truly tie these relative strengths and ad attributes to ROI, we’d need to do a deep analysis of adoption rates, campaign pacing, and creative traits. Short of doing that analysis here, we can surmise the brand is having success reaching its target audience. Not to overgeneralize, but users looking for the ability to checkout with ease and make fast payments online and in-store are probably going to skew millennial, rather than a 50+ audience. Comparing "Don’t Just Buy It, Masterpass It" (:60) to two recent competitive spots, "Ordering Ahead" from Visa Checkout and "The New Money" from PayPal, the Mastercard spot connected to the 21-35 group in these key areas:

These comments shed some light on what millennials found interesting about Masterpass:

  • "I loved how much the ad taught me about the product. I never knew this product existed until this advertisement. I love the idea of paying for things quickly and securely without having to leave your seat or disturbing people. I think this ad is great at grabbing and keeping attention and definitely describes the product very well." – F21-35/Ace Score 899

  • "I liked the ad...it showed various situations where Masterpass could be used effectively to make my life easier when making purchases." – M21-35/Ace Score 899

  • "I think the ad did a great job of showing how Masterpass is a quick, easy, and secure way to pay for things. I like that it gave a variety of examples to show how it is a relevant product" – F21-35/Ace Score 769

Another indicator of success among the younger audience, "Masterpass It" is a lot less polarizing among this group. The 50+ audience has 40% less agreement on the ad, meaning there was greater likelihood of liking it or hating it. Here are some comments that reflect the feelings of the 50+ group:

  • "I think it's very engaging and I see why people would like it - I just don't think that it's something I would be interested in. (I work in IT and begin to think of security issues.)" – F50+/Ace Score 652

  • "it's definitely not for me - I have no intention of every using my phone to pay for anything due to security concerns" – F50+/Ace Score 183

  • "Not sure. I have never been interested in electronic payment. Probably people who do can relate to it." – M50+/Ace Score 41

The differing reactions are not a huge surprise, as Masterpass is likely marketing to the younger generation. They have successfully communicated that they are innovating and changing with the times. Convenience and speed are of the utmost importance to their target and that message has been received. This is not your (grand)father’s Master Charge card.