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3.5.6. Advertising

MasterCard's current advertising campaign tagline is "Priceless". The slogan associated with the campaign is "There are some things money can't buy. For everything else, there's MasterCard." The Priceless campaign in more recent iterations has been applicable to both MasterCard's credit card and debit card products. They also use the 'Priceless' description to promote products such as their "priceless travel" site which features deals and offers for Mastercard holders.

The first of these Priceless ads was run during the World Series in 1997 and there are numerous different TV, radio and print ads. It was idealized by Stewart Emery. MasterCard actually registered Priceless as a trademark. Actor Billy Crudup has been the voice in the US market; in the UK, actor Jack Davenport is the voice.

The purpose of the campaign is to position MasterCard as a friendly credit card company with a sense of humor, as well as respond to the public's worry that everything is being commodified and that people are becoming too materialistic.

Many parodies have been made using this same pattern, especially on Comedy Central, though MasterCard has threatened legal action, contending that MasterCard views such parodies as a violation of its rights under the federal and state trademark and unfair competition laws, under the federal and state anti-dilution laws, and under the Copyright Act. Despite these claims, however, noted US consumer advocate and presidential candidate Ralph Nader emerged victorious (after a four-year battle) in the suit MasterCard brought against him after he produced his own "Priceless" political commercials.

During Super Bowl XXXIX on February 6, 2005, a MasterCard commercial was introduced featuring 10 legendary advertising characters from various foods and household products. The 10 characters are Chef Boyardee, Charlie the Tuna, the Pillsbury Doughboy, Count Chocula, Jovny the Vlasic Pickles stork, the Morton Salt girl, the Jolly Green Giant, Mr. Peanut from Kraft Food's Planters Peanuts, the Gorton's fisherman, and Mr. Clean.


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