How ‘Priceless Cities’ is rooted in Mastercard’s brand strategy

Manasi Narasimhan, VP, Marketing & Communications, South Asia, Mastercard asserted that the brand's focus will be on moving people to digital from cash payments

e4m by Misbaah Mansuri
Updated: Jan 30, 2020 4:24 PM
Manasi Narasimhan Mastercard

When global payments giant-Mastercard released its 'Priceless' advertising campaign in 1997– it became one of the most enduring and memorable slogans to hit our TV screens. Over time, the brand has only taken that thought forward in different ways. It has now launched its flagship Priceless Cities program in South Asia. Starting first in Sri Lanka, the program will allow global travellers to gain exclusive access to several unique experiences when they visit the island destination. Priceless Cities is a program available exclusively to Mastercard cardholders and provides access to unforgettable experiences in the cities where one lives and travels. Currently, the program covers over 40 cities and destinations.

Exchage4media spoke with Manasi Narasimhan, Vice President, Marketing and Communications, South Asia, Mastercard, on how the global campaign is rooted in the brand strategy.

According to Narasimhan, ‘Priceless Cities’- the crux of the brand itself is priceless; something that one can't buy. “Within that, we have a platform globally called ‘Priceless Cities’ because we want to celebrate the best of what cities around the world have to offer which are truly phenomenal, local experiences that money can’t buy. This program of Mastercard started in 2011 in New York and today we have it in 40 cities worldwide. Priceless experiences are based on passion points that could be an exclusive- for example, photography, a tour of a monument after it is shut for the public, a private dinner with a Michelin star chef at a great restaurant, and so on. What is to be remembered is that these are based on consumer passion points that we kept researching all the time. Secondly, it has to reflect the local flavour. Thirdly, it has to be accepted worldwide and accessible only to Mastercard holders. For the first time, we are opening up Priceless Cities in South Asia with the launch of Priceless Sri Lanka. While the global experience was obviously available to Indian Mastercard cardholders anywhere in the world, for the first time we have a local ‘Priceless Cities’ city destination, which is Priceless Sri Lanka and that is the launch that we are talking about,” she shared.

She revealed that a couple of digital campaigns on the proposition are underway and will be rolled out soon. “We will take it to our partner banks because being a B2B organisation, a lot of our consumer communication is done through banks, who have been very excited to partner with us especially where cross-border travel is concerned. Indians are travelling abroad more than ever before, throughout the year, not just during summer or winter vacations,” Narasimhan continued.

According to her, the company will not be exploring traditional advertising for the same. “We may cover it in a couple of high-end magazines. Being a global network, we will not just advertise it in India, but globally also. We will advertise across Asia Pacific and partner with banks,” she remarked.

Narasimhan asserted that the focus will be on moving people to digital from cash payments, driving cross-border and contactless will be a priority. “‘Priceless Cities’ is an initiative for building the brand image especially among affluent audiences and equally it is very important as we strengthen our attribution of exclusivity worldwide. It will share a major role in driving cross-border experiences. Those are the things that we will centrally review,” she said.

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