The Goldstein of sports sponsorship? Mastercard follows a successful formula for RWC ad

Soon the nation will be bombarded with Rugby World Cup-related ads, whether from the tournament’s family of sponsors, the national sponsors, the ambushers or even the teams themselves. And MasterCard is one of the first of the bunch to get in on the act, bringing back its long-time mascot Tim for his fourth run. 

The first three ads have gone down very well with the Kiwi public and as it ain’t broke, it ain’t been fixed. So, once again it is inviting New Zealanders to register then use its Tap & Go tech to win tickets to RWC2015 in London for themselves and three friends, once again it shows the over-excited Tim dragging Richie McCaw along with him as he swipes vigorously, and once again the campaign, which includes TV, out-of-home and additional video content for social channels, was created by McCann Sydney. 

“Tim has become a bit of a celebrity in New Zealand with his infectious enthusiasm for rugby and his friendship with Richie, and we always have a lot of fun bringing him to life for MasterCard,” says McCann Sydney executive creative director Dejan Rasic. “Recurring characters aren’t as common in advertising as they used to be, so it’s a great opportunity for us to develop a consistent campaign and tone for one of our longest-held clients.” 

Tim made his first appearance as a MasterCard mascot in a campaign to promote card usage in 2012, in a spot titled ‘Check In’. In 2013, he broke ladies’ hearts by enthusiastically welcoming Ma’a Nonu, Ali Williams and Richie McCaw to ‘check out the missus’ at his wedding. And in 2014 he took Richie on a mystery trip. 

The first two TVCs were voted by the public as Best Ad at the 2012 in 2013 Fair Go awards and Tim also made the shortlist last year. But the ads also rubbed some the wrong way, and in 2012 and 2103 they were also nominated for Fair Go’s worst ad category. In the world of advertising, attention is a currency, so, good or bad, to paraphrase Bill Bernbach, if it isn’t noticed, everything else is irrelevant. And head of marketing for MasterCard, Michelle Pilot, accepted the 2013 Fair Go Best Ad award and said the key thing was that people knew the ad was for MasterCard. 

“Our brand attribution is up around 80 percent which is phenomenal actually, phenomenal, especially with an All Black ad because there are so many. So we’re very pleased … Neutrality is death. So if you noticed either way, it’s a good thing in advertising. Mind you, I’m very happy to walk away with this one and not the [worst ad].”

The ads also seemed to resonate with the All Blacks themselves. We heard a funny story about ‘Tim’ (real name Byron Cole) being asked by Dan Carter, who was organising some of the team’s social activities, to get into character and bust through the door at a team meeting. Despite the risk of being smashed by large men as he ran in unannounced, he did it, yelling ‘fellllllaaaaas‘, dishing out a few power knuckles and even bravely giving Steve ‘Shag’ Hansen a hug. 

CREDITS – ‘Ruck & Mall’

Michelle Pilot, Head of Marketing Australasia
Anthony Dumont, VP, Consumer Marketing
Kylie Bonassi, Program Manager, Consumer Marketing

McCann Sydney
Executive Creative Director: Dejan Rasic
Copywriter: Jack Wall
Executive Director: Alex Baker

Senior Account Director: Jonathan Rhyddrech

Senior Account Manager: Daniel Larcombe

National Head of Broadcast: Colin Tuohy

Director: Jesse James McElroy

DOP: Crighton Bone

1ST AD: Seumas Cooney

Executive Producer: Alex Hay

Producer: Julianne Shelton


The Editors

Editor: Jessica Mutascio



Song Zu

Creative Director & Composer, Sydney: Ramesh Sathiah

Sound Designer, Sydney: Myles Lowe

Producer, Sydney: Jess O’Byrne 

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