Mastercard’s Sonic Brand Strategy – Priceless

June 9, 2020

Many of you may have heard the news that Mastercard has released a single. Yes, you read that right, Mastercard, the multinational financial services corporation, has released a song called ‘Merry Go Round’. What’s more, this track will form part of a 12-track album called ‘Priceless’, to be released in the Spring. Chart-toppers of Spring 2020 beware! Whatever you think of this track, what is certain is that this is exciting new territory for the branding world and advertising in general. This project is an expansion of Mastercard’s sonic brand architecture, which was introduced in February of last year and the brainchild of CMO, Raja Rajamannar.

There is no question that the introduction of a sonic logo is becoming increasingly popular with brands – the brief usually being that they want something to cover all possible touchpoints. However, the creation of an album from Mastercard goes one step beyond this and demonstrates a brand willing to push new boundaries. They’ve even recently recruited a musician to their marketing department. In their drive to uniquely engage with their consumers and stand out from their competitors, I also wouldn’t be surprised to see the brand placing songs from their album in future TV commercials.

Music has proven to be a useful tool for advertisers. adam&eveDDB’s head of effectiveness, Les Binet (pictured below, centre), has stated that the correct choice of music can increase the effectiveness of an ad by 20-30%. Yet it still comes second to its more tangible visual counterpart in the creative process. 

Trying to stand out from the crowd visually, is still the main focus of advertising. How many brands are using music as the primary vehicle driving them forward? In today’s war for consumers’ attention, it’s refreshing to see a brand like Mastercard thinking outside of the box. 

The start of the year always brings with it lots of talk about trends for the upcoming year. Is 2020 going to be the year where brands get on board with the sonic strategy revolution? Sonic logos are a start, but as Mastercard are discovering, with a well-thought-out sonic strategy, brands will uncover more exciting, diverse, and impactful uses of music, transforming it from a cost into an investment on the balance sheet.

This new interest in sonic strategy has started to gather momentum within the last two years. Brands that take music seriously are now talking about the benefits of a sonic approach, and have come a long way from simply “I want a sonic logo”. It would be great to see this shift in thinking continue to grow throughout 2020.

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