Marketing Spikes Asia Mastercard

How Mastercard used data and Bollywood actor Anil Kapoor to drive bottom line results


By Charlotte McEleny | Asia Editor

September 21, 2016 | 3 min read

Actor Anil Kapoor, famous for starring in films such as Slumdog Millionaire, discussed creativity at this week’s Spikes Asia, sharing the secret to creating content with enough value that people will pay for it.

Mastercard at Spikes

Mastercard and Anil Kapoor at Spikes

He shared the stage with Sam Ahmed, Mastercard APAC head of marketing, to discuss a campaign that he was a part of for the finance brand.

Ahmed asked Kapoor how many brands struggled to get traction with free content while he was able to charge for his.

“Even I was ready to entertain for free at the start. Once established and I had made the right choices and had the right people help, it came back to me and I became a commodity. I feel that just to entertain is not enough, content has to have a message and that is the key. Have a certain message and be sensible, honest and sustainable. It takes time but that’s the way to build trust and that’s when they pay. It takes time,” he said.

Kapoor had been brought on by Mastercard for a campaign around India’s Independence day, the biggest ecommerce day of the year in the country.

According to Ahmed, the brand knew it couldn’t over-commercialise the activity because of the emotional ties to the holiday. It therefore partnered with Kapoor and HDFC bank to create a campaign that was valuable to people and scalable.

It used its own data system, the Mastercard Digital and Ecommerce Engine, to find insights that would form the basis of the campaign. The result was to find unsung Indian heroes under the tagline of #PowerOfOne.

According to Ahmed, Mastercard’s marketing is trying to answer the question of whether you can do good while also doing well.

The question he says brands need to ask is, “How does your brand positively impact the community and how does marketing contribute to the bottom line?”

“For us it was the first time bringing those opposing forces together, the next piece to look at is how to execute. We found three things, the holy trinity; creativity, tech and partnerships.This is at scale, it’s not just a promotion and the brand grows 2 per cent and then you give money to charity. This is about can we impact a million in a country and grow by 10 per cent?” he said.

In this campaign the doing good element helped it stand out during a crowded marketing period; “We had to drive sales but we had to do good at the same time, otherwise we were just another offer engine,” he said.

According to Ahmed the campaign was a huge success and the engine that powered it is now being used to drive all of the brand’s marketing activity globally.

Marketing Spikes Asia Mastercard

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