Byravee Iyer
Sep 21, 2016

Inside Mastercard’s partnership with Anil Kapoor

Creativity, technology and partnerships are key to doing good and doing well at the same time, according to Mastercard’s Asia-Pacific CMO Sam Ahmed.

L-R: Sam Ahmed, Anil Kapoor
L-R: Sam Ahmed, Anil Kapoor

SPIKES ASIA - Mastercard's Asia-Pacific CMO Sam Ahmed took the Spikes stage with renowned actor Anil Kapoor to discuss a successful collaboration that combined Kapoor's gravitas with Mastercard's real-time marketing acumen and positive action in India.  

There’s a huge populist nationalism wave sweeping Asia, and consumers are forcing businesses to think about what they’re doing for the larger community, while at the same time brands have to prove the impact of every dollar spent, Ahmed said.

“We had a chance to pull these two opposing forces together,” he told delegates. “Can we affect millions of people and grow at 10 percent?”

Mastercard partnered with the Bollywood star and HDFC Bank for a campaign surrounding India’s Independence Day in August.

It is the largest ecommerce shopping day and also an emotional moment for the nation. The campaign, entitled ‘Power of One’, wasn’t just about India’s growing power on the world stage, but about the people who have helped it rise, Ahmed insisted.

Mastercard issued a call across social media to rally people to share stories of ‘unsung heroes’. It proposed a US$20,000 reward (in the form of a prepaid Mastercard, of course) to help the winner continue their good work. It also offered rewards to those nominating the do-gooders. Using its in-house ecommerce engine, Mastercard was able to customise its offerings and creative elements based on user response. These included offers on flights, phones and movie tickets.

More Spikes Asia 2016 coverage

Kapoor's starring role was in a video where he surprised the winner and presented her with the award.

“The creative process had to be structured and authentic,” said Kapoor. “For that, I needed to believe in it, in the hero, and the work she does. It cannot be fake.”

Kapoor said he views his partnership with Mastercard like he would any relationship. “It is no different from your relationships with friends and family," he said. "It was a privilege and honour to work with Mastercard because we stand by each others’ values.”

The next challenge for the firm was to go from engagement to driving business results. Mastercard created tons of user-generated content from the stories that were sent in. The digital engine helped get real-time insights to enable real-time planning to develop sustainable content published through trading desks.

“I could actually show my business how it is driving transactions," Ahmed said. "This is where creativity and technology came together because we were able to see what was working and what was not on a daily basis, and the creative was able to get better through the campaign.”

The campaign drove considerable scale. It reached 17 million people, and Kapoor’s video was viewed 1.8 million times. The campaign engaged 6.5 million people and earned media grew 8.3 times. On the business front, the company saw 15 percent revenue growth year-over-year during the period, card usage was up fivefold and there was a 200 percent lift in sales for merchants.

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