Priceless Surprises

I worked on MasterCard for most of my time at RGA. Translation: I churned out sexy decks twice a week only to watch them decompose in MasterCard's mass concept grave. OK, it wasn't that grim. But it was tough.

The big campaign that I worked on that actually happened was the Priceless Surprises campaignPriceless Surprises started as a warm and fuzzy gifting program, where MasterCard would incentivize cardholders to surprise their friends with acts of kindness through gifting. MasterCard ultimately reduced it to a simple sweepstakes campaign via hashtag. MasterCard would encourage people to use #PricelessSurprises on social media (primarily Instagram and Twitter), and then they would award these random hashtag enthusiasts (if they were also cardholders) with surprises.

My Role

Creative direction, Art direction










MasterCard conveniently had Justin Timberlake on hand as their quasi-pitchman. We wanted him to lend his celebrity to draw attention to the surprise gifting. JT was on board, but he preferred to be discrete. JT didn’t want to be perceived as a shill. The only problem was that JT certainly liked to deposit shill-size checks. Eventually, they ended up paying JT a bunch of cash to surprise an unsuspecting fan, which was documented in a TV spot that aired during the Grammies.

I threw together the Priceless Surprises site design concept that the client bit on. The office in Sau Paolo executed on it. Since MasterCard reduced the nature of the surprises program to a random hashtag sweepstakes, the site became little more than a nicely designed social media aggregator for #PricelessSurprises.

Our task was then to come up with visible surprise stunts. Endless conceptual rounds followed. We got so close to getting JT to photobomb unsuspecting people in ordinary photo booths in random towns. One of JTs gatekeepers from his entourage gave an enthusiastic go-ahead ("that's dope!" he said on the call). But the MasterCard gods balked at the last minute. 

There was also a MasterCard Travel campaign that I worked on, but that deck(s), also, was laid to rest on the MasterCard side.

The rest of my time was spent constructing a creative toolkit for all of MaterCard's social platforms in all of the worldwide markets. This included devising branding guidelines, visual standards, and overseeing MasterCard's social calendar.