By Awards Analyst | writer

November 12, 2021 | 5 min read

McCann New York won ‘Best Use of Snapchat’ at The Drum Awards for Social Media in 2021, with its work for Mastercard. The AR-driven campaign revived the award-winning Acceptance Street installation, using Snapchat to welcome new virtual visitors when pandemic prevented them in person. Here, the team behind the winning entry explains the process.

Mastercard is a continued proud sponsor of NYC Pride, as well as other pride events across the country. In 2019, on the 50th anniversary of the LGBTQIA+ movement, Mastercard created Acceptance Street by adding new flags to the Gay Street sign, at the corner of Christopher & Gay Street in NYC. While the original signs remained in place, ten new signs were installed below them with multiple colors. These included: ‘Lesbian,’ ‘Bisexual,’ ‘Transsexual,’ ‘Queer,’ ‘Intersex,’ ‘Asexual,’ ‘Non-Binary,’ ‘Pansexual,’ ‘Two-Spirit,’ ‘+.’ The effort signified Mastercard’s ongoing commitment to inclusion, diversity and acceptance.

Due to Covid-19, celebrations in 2021 had to remain virtual, similar to 2020’s. Because of this, Mastercard brought Acceptance Street to life virtually, allowing people to engage with it from wherever they were. This was done via a Snapchat Augmented Reality Lens, where users could engage with the sign in both selfie mode and world view (the front-facing camera) via a personalized experience and the ability to put the fully three-dimensional street sign in front of them, no matter where they were.


Mastercard believes people should be accepted no matter how they identify. And Mastercard has supported the LGBTQIA+ community for more than a decade, going beyond marketing to bring this belief to life. This has included creating ‘Restrooms for All’ at Pride events, partnering with nonbinary spokespeople, and creating True Name, a feature that allows transgender and nonbinary people to use their chosen name on their cards.


2020 and 2021 were hard years for so many, and the LGBTQIA+ community was hit especially hard due to their economic and health care situations. Pride month occurs every year, in June, to commemorate the Stonewall riots and recognize the impact LGBTQIA+ people have had on this world. And Mastercard not only supports and champions the LGBTQIA+ community, but they strive to create meaningful connections, inspire acceptance and cultivate a culture where we all belong.

Unfortunately, in 2021, due to Covid-19, Pride celebrations were forced to yet again remain virtual for the second year in a row. Mastercard, being a sponsor of NYC pride and other pride parades around the country, looked to help members of the community and allies celebrate from wherever they are.

Our goal was to engage a national audience via a Snapchat Augmented Reality Lens to make celebrating Pride fun and accessible for anyone, from anywhere, as well as help people showcase acceptance and their true selves. More specifically, given this was a Snapchat Lens, our goals were to garner a high number of engagements with our lens, via impressions, shares, reach and earned media.


In order to make celebrating Pride accessible for everyone during a year where celebrations were virtual, Mastercard brought beloved Acceptance Street, originally an in-person staple at the corner of Christopher & Gay Street in NYC, to life via a dynamic AR experience on Snapchat. This allowed a national audience to engage with it from anywhere and everywhere.

The Snapchat Lens leveraged the street sign in its exact original form. It was customizable, so users could tap a flag on the sign that they identified with to have a button placed on their chest with that identity. Even ‘ally’ was included. Users could also flip the lens so it worked in world view, and a full three-dimensional version of Acceptance Street was placed in front of the user. It could then be seen in one’s backyard, living room or even on their street.

Additional Snapchat content, including non-skippable ad units, were used to drive people to the lens, leveraging video from the 2019 in-person Acceptance Street in NYC, to tell the story of the history behind the sign. We also shared the Pride-themed designed Snap Code (Snapchat’s version of a QR code) on Mastercard’s Twitter account to both tell the historic story behind the street sign and encourage users on another platform to use the lens, helping further garner reach. We worked with diverse members of the LGBTQIA+ community, such as Laith Ashley and Kenneth Senegal, to share and promote themselves using the lens.

Overall, our Snapchat Lens performed extremely well, garnering a ton of impressions, a high percentage of total reach inclusive of reach that came from earned media, and an extremely high playtime, showing how much Snapchatters engaged with and played around with the lens.


Mastercard’s Snapchat Lens garnered over 50m total impressions. Playtime with the Lens exceeded Snapchat benchmarks (which are 7-12s) by over 22%, coming in at 14.75 seconds. This equates to over 7 years of total playtime with the Mastercard Lens. 11% of the Total Reach came from Earned Media, with over 1.6M additional uniques added from Snapchatters sharing the Lens. And the Lens drove 537K+ engagements (which are specifically saves and shares).

This campaign was a winner at The Drum Awards for Social Media. To find out more, including which competitions are currently open for entry, visit The Drum Awards website.

Marketing Awards Case Studies Social Media

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