financial services

Lionel Messi, Mastercard Kick Off Copa America Campaign With 'Giving Back'

With the Copa América tournament on the horizon, Mastercard has kicked off a campaign featuring soccer legend Lionel Messi.

In the opening “Giving Back” ad, small-business owners refuse Messi’s attempts to make Mastercard payments out of respect for the star’s contributions to the game. If that seems a bit much to swallow -- given that Forbes has estimated Messi’s net worth at around $600 million -- the spot’s conclusion at least finally sees Messi paying for something: picking up the tab for a group of kids’ soccer jerseys and T-shirts. According to the brand, their surprise and delight at seeing the star is genuine, as they were unaware Messi would be on set for the scene.

Additionally, according to Messi himself, the premise of the ad played out for him in real life. Mastercard published a Q&A with the star on its website as part of the campaign, in which he said, “I vividly remember a heartwarming time in Argentina, my home country, where a restaurant owner refused to accept my payment for dinner, as a gesture of gratitude for my contributions to the sport. Yet it was me who was truly appreciative for his support, and the support of all my fans, over the years. I’m deeply touched by their love and generosity, and when Mastercard presented the idea, I immediately jumped on board.”



Messi, who has served as a brand ambassador for Mastercard since 2018, will be defending Argentina’s title in the tournament. By some estimations the third-most watched soccer tournament in the world, the event is a major marketing opportunity for brands, and “Giving Back” kicks off a campaign that coincides with Mastercard’s 30th year sponsoring the Copa América.

As part of that sponsorship, all 14 of the tournament’s hosting stadiums will rely exclusively on contactless, cashless payments, allowing fans to more quickly pay and return to the game. Mastercard will also be offering cardholders the ability to book a range of “Priceless Experiences,” including a pre-match meal with “a South American soccer legend” (which it feels fair to assume refers to Messi), an opportunity to be a player mascot on the pitch during the tournament, and ordering an official Copa América jersey for their child. The tournament kicks off on June 20, and will conclude with a July 14 final match at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami.

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