ORLANDO, FL: MasterCard, the financial services provider, believes experiences are increasingly more important to customers than buying things and has built a three-tiered system helping bring this idea to life.

Ben Jankowski, MasterCard's group head/global media, discussed this subject while speaking at the Association of National Advertisers' (ANA) 2014 Masters of Marketing conference in Orlando, Florida.

The suggestion that experiences "matter more than things", he added, represents a "real human truth" – a fact that holds especially true for millennials.

It has also encouraged MasterCard, which developed this notion during its long-running "Priceless" campaign – a platform now incorporating "Priceless Cities" and "Priceless Surprises" – to construct its experiential model.

"At the top of the pyramid are the really priceless experiences, which are the once in a lifetime things," said. Jankowski (For more, including how the firm's media strategy is evolving, read Warc's exclusive report: How MasterCard keeps "Priceless" timeless.)

The activations falling under this bracket could involve unique opportunities like the chance to play golf with a PGA Tour champion or meeting a baseball or ice hockey legend.

A second tier of experience provides cardholders with "privileged access" everywhere from VIP treatment rooms in luxury spas to dedicated sections of a sports stadium.

Initiatives aimed at the widest audience feature "content, offers and rewards", such as acquiring discounted event tickets and viewing exclusive online video.

"There were very, very mass-scale programs. There were some assets that every single cardholder could take advantage of. And with media owners, there's never a lack of content to be scaled to the masses," Jankowski said.

As MasterCard's insight into the role of experiences has matured with the introduction of "Priceless Cities" and "Priceless Surprises", so the company's understanding of its own purpose has evolved.

Now, Jankowski asserted, it is "less about the ability to use this piece of plastic to buy stuff, and more about the card helping enable you to experience a great life."

Data sourced from Warc