MasterCard’s ‘priceless’ holiday giveaway

The brand had a big surprise for Calgary charities

MasterCard has been giving Canadian cardholders “priceless surprises” throughout the year, like meeting Justin Timberlake and getting to watch a Maple Leafs game with Doug Gilmour. But for the holidays, MasterCard turned its attention to kids in need.

Company employees recently surprised six Calgary-area charities with a truckload of more than 22,000 toys for their holiday drives. During a weekend in November, shoppers who used their PC Financial MasterCard at select grocery stores received a message that toys were being donated to a charity on their behalf.

“Our goal with this [priceless surprise] was to make it even greater in terms of scope and impact,” said Milos Vranesevic, head of marketing at MasterCard Worldwide, Canada. “It’s all about giving back and giving children an opportunity to enjoy the holiday season with a priceless surprise of toys donated by MasterCard and our financial partner President’s Choice Financial.”

A four-minute online video shows the toys being delivered in an 18-wheeler decked with Christmas lights. A shorter version is airing on national television.

MasterCard has created videos of other priceless surprises, but the holiday spot is the first one to air on television. “A lot of the other ones that we’ve done have been really personal, individual experiences,” said Vranesevic. But with the toy giveaway, “the scale was much more significant and it was something we wanted to promote and share on a larger scale, which is why we took it to broadcast.”

Many brands have jumped on the good-deed marketing bandwagon, following West Jet’s smash success, “Christmas Miracle,” last year, but MasterCard isn’t merely following the trend.

“It’s logical for a lot of brands to want to [give back] around the holidays, so we’re certainly in that mindset,” said Vranesevic. “Hopefully what allows us to really differentiate is the fact that we’ve been launching surprises in Canada since the beginning of the year.”

MasterCard worked with MacLaren McCann on the holiday campaign. Carat handled media planning and buying, and Ketchum is handling public relations.

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