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MasterCard and Kiip ramp up personal experiences via Priceless Surprises app

MasterCard is partnering with mobile advertising network Kiip to delight consumers with more of the credit card company’s Priceless Surprises via a standalone mobile application, affirming that marketers are leveraging mobile as the go-to channel for surprise moments and personalized experiences.

MasterCard’s Priceless Surprises function as a marketing platform designed to delight customers by surprising them with spur-of-the-moment experiences ranging from digital song downloads to meetings with celebrities. As the brand has seen a social engagement rate three times higher thanks to its Surprises, the next organic step is bringing the platform to mobile to create personalized relationships with even more consumers.

“The best mobile business apps appeal to those loyal customers who will use it again and again—and whose connection to that business will grow as a result of their consistent engagement,” said Shira Anderson, marketing manager at Como, Israel. “The success of MasterCard’s new program will depend on the way the brand can leverage and activate this type of relationship effectively.

“Judging from their strategy, they stand a good chance to do so: by replicating the surprises delivered offline to customers via the devices that they always have on hand, they are well positioned to augment and increase their off-line success.”

Kiip partnership
Kiip will be powering the Priceless Surprises mobile application, which is set to be launched in the near future, as well as a mobile software developer kit. It will discuss Surprises events and opportunities with cardholders via push notifications on mobile devices.

Users will also be able to interact with in-app activities that will be representative of real-time Priceless moments. Kiip believes the partnership will enable more consumers to discover its loyalty platform and moment-based rewards system.

Kiip has also previously partnered with a slew of top brands including AMC and McDonald’s to greet users with branded videos after reaching significant levels in mobile apps (see story).

MasterCard is aiming to release the app within the next several weeks, and is also seeking to team up with some of its largest sponsorship partners. The brand has previously joined forces with Major League Baseball, The Brit Awards, The Grammys, PGA Tour and Rugby World Cup among others.

“They’ll be able to tie their brands to the offerings made to users of the app, giving them an opportunity to associate their brand with the same feelings of ‘surprise and delight’ now associated with MasterCard,” Ms. Anderson said.

Priceless Surprise recipients have experienced once-in-a-lifetime moments, such as meeting rugby stars atop the London Eye and speaking with Justin Timberlake at The Grammys. Other Surprises have included premium seat upgrades at events.

Social media engagement
MasterCard is encouraging consumers to keep up with its latest offerings via a specific hashtag, #WhatsNext. The Priceless Surprises platform ranks as one of the highest social media engagements fuelling live initiatives, with an engagement rate three times higher than any of MasterCard’s other programs.

The Priceless Surprises program also tops Twitter and Facebook benchmarks within financial services and consumer industries in the United States, respectively.

Priceless Surprises has seen nearly 200 activations across consumer recreation areas such as shopping, music and sports, and has delivered experiences to hundreds of thousands of MasterCard customers.

MasterCard has been placing a higher focus on mobile strategy recently, with the brand announcing a partnership with Cubic Transportation Systems this week that will help personalize and digitize the commuting experience worldwide (see story).

MasterCard’s integration with Cubic will allow for flexible pricing and incentives, and personalized deals that can be sent to commuters by retailers in transportation hubs.

“In mobile, as in life, the best surprises are targeted ones: the ones that give people the feeling that it was tailor-made for them,” Ms. Anderson said. “For example, offering a consummate coffee drinker a free coffee black, with one sugar (just the way they like it), at their favorite coffee joint establishes a certain intimacy that goes beyond the momentary delight at the coffee itself.

“To be really successful, this program should provide loyal customers these targeted rewards just when they are the most unexpected, further reinforcing their customers’ emotional connection to the MasterCard brand.”

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York