MasterCard’s marketers: people don’t like ads
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MasterCard’s marketers: people don’t like ads

According to MasterCard’s chief marketing officer, Raja Rajamannar, people are done with advertising. Instead, they want to “experience brands”. What is MasterCard’s solution to this problem? Something Rajamannar calls “story making”.

MasterCard is up 9% year-to-date

MasterCard is up 9% year-to-date

Source: Yahoo Finance

Speaking to CNBC, Rajamannar said:

"Now if you see the trend, consumers are not interested in ads. They want uninterrupted experiences. The fact that there are 225 million consumers who are active users of ad block[ers] tells you that they're saying 'no I don't want your ads.'"

"How do you reach consumers? That kind of a scenario is a not about storytelling. It is all about story making, it is through experiences that you give consumers where they become a part of the story, you enable them to create and tell their own stories which we call story making."

The company is putting its money where its mouth is. It recently evolved its “Priceless” website to be less of an advertising platform and more of an “experiential” one. That means it aims to “surprise and delight” customers with a range of special offers and free gifts. MasterCard automatically enters users into a draw when they spend, for example, with prizes like celebrity meetings and event tickets up for grabs.

It also gives them the chance to get discounts on shopping, and buy experiences like food tastings and VIP seats to award shows.

Rajamannar said that consumers’ expectations are higher than they’ve ever been. They want the best prices, and expect brands to “delight” them, be authentic, and “do something good for society”. He told CNBC:

"What we realized is that advertising is not the way to go. It's not about communicating but it's about story making and hence we have to shift to an experiential platform. So Priceless is now for us as a holistic marketing platform, which means in all the four Ps of marketing [product, promotion, price and place], Priceless is infused. The first thing that any brand has to do is to realize that this is [the] reality [they have] got to deal with. There is no point in complaining that the consumer is expecting too much.”

Dominion holds MasterCard in its Global Trends Ecommerce Fund.

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