Can your commercial do this? Probably not: In a presentation at the Association of National Advertiser’s Masters of Marketing event, MasterCard’s CMO Alfredo Gangotena showed off the very first version of the Priceless campaign, now 15 years old, which still managed to get a big round of applause from conference attendees. That campaign is still running in more than 110 countries and in 53 languages, and has so thoroughly infiltrated the lexicon of pop culture that it’s been borrowed by everyone from David Letterman and Tina Fey to Bart Simpson and James Carville.
So, how did he not screw it up, and resist the urge to change the campaign? “It’s actually everything I did wrong at P&G,” he admits. “It’s those people who had the guts to stay truthful to what a brand means that are to be commended,” he says. And to those who keep searching for new campaigns, continually changing up their brand positioning? “Go back to what the consumer is telling you.”
He says the company, which sees cash as its main competitor, is now expanding its new version of Priceless, called “Priceless Cities,” which focuses on the connection between people and their cities. (It launched with Priceless New York, an effort using seats from Yankee stadium, Facebook Places and other social media to generate millions of unpaid impressions.) Next up: Priceless Rio.