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Mastercard tackles brand blocking

News, 18 May 2017
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TORONTO: Mastercard, the payments company, believes that providing "uninterrupted" and unique experiences for consumers can help in tackling the growing trend of audiences and platforms blocking out ads.

Raja Rajamannar, Chief Marketing & Communications Officer at Mastercard, discussed this topic at 2017 Global Marketer Week, an event co-sponsored by the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) and Association of Canadian Advertisers (ACA).

"Consumers want experiences that are truly uninterrupted," he said. (For more details, read WARC's free-to-access report: How Mastercard bites back at brand blocking.)

"Consumers are telling us they don't want interrupted experiences or they don't want any brand – or a product, or a company – to come between them and their experiences."

Building on this theme, he suggested the number of consumers utilizing ad blockers represents hard evidence of that idea being turned into concrete action.

"If you look at the number of people who are saying, 'I have an active ad blocker', you have 225m active ad blockers," continued Rajamannar.

"If they're doing ad blocking, that means they are educated consumers. They're knowledgeable consumers. If you look at their socioeconomic category, these are the people that have higher levels of disposable income ... These are the people who say 'I don't want it'."

Streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime, which are free from advertising, constitute further example of how ad-free environments are flourishing.

"Just imagine 82m subscribers to Netflix," Rajamannar said. "That's billions of hours of content-watching that marketers are cut out from."

This poses many advertisers, schooled in the tradition of interruptive marketing, with a clear conundrum. "How do you bring your brand in authentically without doing so forcefully?" asked Rajamannar.

One of Mastercard's responses is "Priceless Experiences", a program letting consumers engage in enticing events – from picnics in Rio de Janeiro's Tijuca Forest to private rehearsals at the Opéra National de Paris – that they will share online.

"My whole approach is connecting with consumers and [enabling] consumers to connect with things that they care about," Rajamannar said.

Data sourced from WARC

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