MHB WEEKLY: By the students, for the world

Thirty Percent Off Priceless | January 19, 2011

With MasterCard Marketplace — an online shopping center featuring tempting markdowns for card owners — advertising “Overwhelming Offers” and “Sick Deals,” MasterCard’s current marketing strategy accommodates frugal consumers focused on cutting back and saving money during difficult economic times. “Shoes,” a recent addition to the Priceless campaign, features two women wearing identical spicy red stilettos — but only one who got her heels for thirty percent off by shopping online at MasterCard Marketplace.

Another commercial entitled “Overexcited,” which ran through the holiday season, depicted a family who used MasterCards to save money on presents and was consequently able to have a joyful Christmas. The advertisement culminated with the father holding up a camera that he received as a gift, accompanied by the following statement: “Overexcited: 50% off.”

MasterCard’s savings-focused marketing tactics have been a long time in the making. In 2009, PR Week published an article which described the modern consumer as “the one who has snapped shut the family wallet and packed it in to ride out a recession being compared to the Great Depression.” According to the article, Mastercard — in its future Priceless advertisements — planned to tone down advertising of the brand name and instead raise awareness among cash-strapped customers about the savings and range of services available exclusively to MasterCard users. Current Priceless advertisements reflect this strategy, providing customers with information about how they can use their MasterCards to get the most for their money. The lesson that can be taken from MasterCard’s newest commercials? In today’s economic climate, “priceless” is only marketable if it’s thirty percent off.

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    Established in 2009 at USC, the Master's of Science in Human Behavior is designed to equip students with knowledge of consumer psychology, social media and market analysis skills. This is our blog. Subscribe

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