Justin Timberlake has been around the endorsement block a few times, but MasterCard believes the singer-cum-actor can be an effective face for the new "Priceless Surprises" multichannel advertising campaign that the brand is launching Sunday during the 56th Annual Grammy Awards.
New ads will feature Timberlake himself involved in what MasterCard called an "unscripted surprise," while a social media and checkout-connected campaign will shower card customers with surprises right on up to a trip to see Timberlake perform anywhere on his world tour.
"He's very creative; he understands the pulse of his fans so well," Raja Rajamannar, CMO of MasterCard Worldwide, told brandchannel. "He brings insights about his fans with him. And when we created this concept, it was a delightful surprise in how it evolved with him."
MasterCard has led to this new tack, of course, with its "Priceless Moments" and "Priceless Experiences" themes from earlier campaigns. The new effort is an evolution of the brand's "Priceless Cities" campaign that has been running in 38 cities around the world, providing what Rajamannar called "unique and exclusive and memorable experiences for consumers."
Next, he said, MasterCard wanted to "move it on or transform it to a marketing platform that is truly holistic ... inspiring 'Priceless' in new and unexpected ways in consumers' lives, big or small. The whole idea is to get consumers invovled with our brand."
And in global markets, the financial-services giant has used a "Priceless Music" theme as well, Rajamannar said. "Music is an area of passion for consumers that we're deeply involved in, and the Grammys are the biggest event in music. So it's natural for us to hinge our launch planning around the Grammys."
Thus, Timberlake and surprises. And while MasterCard preferred launching Timberlake and the campaign on the Grammys instead of during an already celebrity-studded Super Bowl advertising arena, Rajamannar told the New York Times that there is "certainly strong appeal to 'big-event TV'" of all sorts.
"Not only are they typically shows that viewers watch in real time," he said, "but they also deliver a very targeted viewing audience aligned around a specific passion point, be it sports, music or entertainment."
Or Justin Timberlake.