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MasterCard global CMO outlines vision to help advertisers geo-target consumers through new ‘Priceless Surprises’ app

MasterCard has launched a dedicated app for its Priceless Surprises campaign which will in time let advertisers such as Citibank and American Airlines geo-target consumers with spontaneous treats.

Priceless Surprises initially launched last year as a social media campaign to support MasterCard's long-running ‘Priceless’ brand positioning, surprising cardholders across areas like sports, music, and fashion. The activity has gone on to become one of the most successful marketing drives to date – delivering an engagement rate three times higher when compared against other brand programmes.

Speaking to The Drum at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona global chief marketing officer Raja Rajamannar explained that the app aims to extend the campaign at scale and in a contextually relevant and real-time manner.

“The mobile is something which people carry with them all the time and provides the best opportunity to reward the consumer with Priceless Surprises, more than any other media. And consumers are receptive to push notifications - so long as they are not intrusive," he said.

Initially, MasterCard will be the sole user as it looks to build a bank of data on consumer engagement to show how brand favour has shifted away from the likes of Visa - its biggest competitor.

“[Once we have that] we’ll go to our partners with that and say…"hey do you want to use it, here is the data",” Rajamannar explained.

To facilitate that, a software developer kit (SDK) has been created to help brands tailor their own messages about events and ‘Priceless’ opportunities.

“What we are trying to do in that kind of context is create an app that will not only service MasterCard’s needs but also our partners' [such as Citibank and American Airlines] needs,” he added.

Currently offers are contextually relevant based on data offered by consumers, however it will soon harness location data to send geo-targeted offers.

For example if a customer is in an airport an airline will have the option to send them a ‘Priceless Surprise’ which could be anything from a complimentary drink to a free upgrade.

Rajamannar revealed he is in the process of shortlisting technologies, such as Beacons, to facilitate this next phase.

The app will also be harnessed to support its sponsorship of events such as the Rugby World Cup UEFA Champions League, Berlin Film Festival and Cannes Film Festival.

“It could be a simple thing like making tickets available or upgrading your seats, or meet a player, or signed memorabilia. All these things we can offer,” he said.

A marketing drive across digital, including paid and unpaid activity, is set to launch alongside partner marketing with banks and other merchants to drive downloads of the app.

The app, which launched today (4 March) was developed in partnership with Kiip, which describes itself as a moment-based rewards platform.

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Jennifer Faull

Jen Faull is deputy news editor at The Drum with a remit to cover the latest developments in the retail and FMCG sectors. Based in London, she has interviewed major business figures including top marketers from Mondelez, Unilever, Tesco, and Lidl.

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