How do you surprise, delight and capture the imagination of some of the most sophisticated users of media and technology -- the start-up community that is developing it? If you’re MasterCard, you do it by focusing on one of their favorite themes -- man/machine interaction -- but with a surprising twist, using vending machines.
This one (pictured) happens to be located in the “Mashable House,” where tech start-up-savvy publisher Mashable is playing host to its community during the SXSWi festival in Austin this week.
“Attendees are bloggers and influencers within emerging technology that MasterCard will allow to tweet #PricelessSurprises, receive a code, and use that code to activate the vending machine,” explains J.R. Badian, vice president-senior business leader in the U.S. Digital Marketing and Social Media group at MasterCard.“The fun continues online at mashable.com from March 10th-21st,” he continues, noting: “Interactive digital assets will be on mashable.com, allowing MasterCard cardholders to share in the surprises by surprising their friends with bakery items and delivered overnight care of magnolia bakery with purchase only with a MasterCard.” Badian estimates MasterCard will serve vending machine surprises to about 2,000 Mashable House attendees through March 9.
What savvy digital marketers and agency folks might not be surprised to learn is that MasterCard’s social team will be tapping other digital media behind-the-scenes to “amplify” the effects of the campaign.“We are leveraging an influential/well-connected/socially-active audience on Foursquare,” he shares, explaining that when people check in via the popular social app throughout Austin, including airports, hotels, restaurants, etc., “they will be presented with an in-app notification from MasterCard Priceless Surprises, mentioning that MasterCard is surprising its cardholders, and inviting people to tweet using #PricelessSurprises to potentially be the next surprised.” Leveraging the behavioral targeting of that check-in data, Badian says MasterCard will also display precision-targeted mobile banners and facebook ads to drive additional awareness and participation in the #PricelessSurprises campaign.
“This ensures that we are being smart with our targeting to reinforce messages to people who are likely attending SXSW,” Badian explains, adding: “We are trying to inspire participation (content-creation) in the broader program, amongst the influential and active audience in Austin.”
Not surprisingly, the surprising initiative doesn’t leave Twitter out of the mix.
“We will reply to tweets from people in Austin who have used the hashtag during SXSWi, and will invite them to the MasterCard booth in Mashable House to get a priceless surprises from the #PricelessSurprises vending machine.”