Adelphoi Music Podcast: Mastercard’s Missteps

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Mastercard’s new audio identity set everyone’s pulses racing when it was unveiled last year. There was a deluge of positive reporting, agencies and brands alike were wowed, and it even won a rather dubious award. But a year on, has it really fulfilled its promise? Jamie thinks not, and argues that the problem lies in Mastercard’s basic premise – that the melody alone defines the brand – which encouraged them to arrange the theme in multiple styles from day one. Making it harder, in fact, for anyone to recognize it.

The more interesting part of the strategy is the use of the melody as a payment sound whenever anyone uses their Mastercard, at point of sale or online. But even here there are problems, with the sound itself, and the idea behind it. Jamie does a bit of future-gazing to try to figure out just where Mastercard is hoping to take its audio identity in the still-developing world of e-commerce.

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