The Passion Payoff: Evolution Of Mastercard’s ‘Priceless’ Campaign

11. February 2018.








Ending poverty, fighting cancer, and bringing women into tech fields: all in a day’s work, along with simpler pleasures like reading a book with one’s child each night or adopting a pet from a shelter.

These are the sorts of everyday extraordinary experiences Mastercard says it wants to promote with its “Start Something Priceless” campaign — a campaign which launched Jan. 18 and which last week extended its reach into Pebble Beach Resorts as Mastercard was announced as the resorts’ Official Payment Technology Provider.

Because what’s more exciting than scoring a hole-in-one at Pebble Beach? Buying the celebratory beer with Mastercard, apparently.

The card network announced Thursday (Feb. 8) that it had joined Pebble Beach Resorts’ brand partner portfolio with the goal of providing VIP cardholder access and experiences at the resorts’ golf courses, spas, dining and retail.

That unlocks unique benefits and “Priceless” experiences at the resorts. The card network further plans to introduce innovative payment technology at resort amenities including the hotels, shops, spa, restaurants, 17-Mile Drive, Pebble Beach Golf Academy, and (obviously) golf courses, in addition to VIP access to events like Pebble Beach Food & Wine.

Mastercard’s “Start Something Priceless” campaign centers on empowering people to follow their dreams. Money can’t buy happiness, but it can be used to pursue passion and purpose and to contribute something meaningful to one’s own life, the wider community, and the world at large.

“Start Something Priceless is a call to action at a time when people expect actions, not just ads, from brands,” said Raja Rajamannar, chief marketing and communications officer at Mastercard. “This is a time when people truly believe in their own power to fuel change, and whether big or small, an action has the ability to make the world a better place. That movement is what we aim to unleash this year.”

Start Something

The “Start Something Priceless” mantra applies to a wide range of interests and experiences: travel, music, sports, charity. Mastercard says that’s because such passions can help people overcome personal challenges and external biases that stand between them and their dreams.

That ties in with the brand’s ongoing drive toward financial inclusion, expressed through such innovative campaigns as its interactive donation billboards in Paris. Those who pass by the billboards can simply hold up their phone or card to activate a one Euro donation that can provide a week of school meals for a hungry child.

The campaign started in January at the Mastercard House, an experiential retail and concert environment in New York City. The venue hosted a “Start Something Priceless” GRAMMY Awards preview event for media and influencers before opening the space to the public through January 27.

At the time of launch, Mastercard encouraged people to share pledges to pursue a passion or purpose, effect change, and “lift one another up,” according to a press release from launch day.

The campaign is a call to action, loud and clear. Its spirit is already embodied in events and experiences such as the Arnold Palmer Invitational, MLB All Star Game, and Priceless Causes with Stand Up To Cancer. Mastercard also works to reverse the poverty cycle via the World Food Programme, supports people fighting cancer via Stand Up To Cancer, and helps prepare young girls for a career in STEM.

Passion’s Priceless Payoff

What do these causes have in common — and what does any of it have to do with golf?

Piece by piece, they are expensive — but the end result (as Mastercard has been touting through its purpose-driven branding for 20 years) is priceless. The shift now is from simply celebrating connections and experiences to making them happen — from story-telling to story-making, the network said.

Visiting Pebble Beach is already a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many guests of the resort — indeed, that’s exactly what Pebble Beach says it strives to provide. What more could such an experience possibly need? Golf is a passion, Mastercard said in a press release, and therefore an experience that deserves to be enhanced to the max.

“Our Start Something Priceless movement is centered on empowering people in their pursuit of passion and purpose — golf being one of those passion points,” said Andres Siefken, executive vice president, North America marketing and communications, Mastercard.

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