- Mastercard is launching a permanent international culinary collective called Priceless in New York City, according to a press release. The effort is part of a collaboration with the agency Spring Studios.
- The showcase features "immersive, multi-sensory experiences" from famous restaurants from around the world. The first three to take up residency are The Rock from Zanzibar, Tanzania; Teruzushi from Kitakyushu, Japan; and Lyaness from London. Additionally, a "global food experience" curated by Chef JJ Johnson will be available. The experiences can only be booked by Mastercard cardholders.
- The concept recreates the look and ambiance of the featured restaurants — for example, the sound of Teruzushi chef Takayoshi Watanabe's sword blades, or the roll of the Indian Ocean from The Rock — while emphasizing sonic branding Mastercard introduced earlier this year.
Priceless is an elaborate, ambitious expansion on the experiential marketing trend, where consumers enjoy a unique experience that embodies the idea or lifestyle a brand is trying to communicate. Experiential marketing has been particularly useful in targeting millennial consumers.
In this case, Mastercard is emphasizing its connection to luxury dining, differentiating from more common tactics like launching a pop-up restaurant in making Priceless a longer-standing fixture. The strategy fits into the credit card company's broader shift to center its marketing in the experiential space, a pivot Mastercard began in 2013, CMO Raja Rajamannar previously told Campaign.
In addition to unique sonic accompaniment, each restaurant featured in Priceless is re-created with furniture, utensils and windows electronically displaying a given eatery's locale, changing between day and night views. After several months, new world-famous restaurants will take the place of current ones. Not only is this planned as a permanent experience in Manhattan, but Spring Studios said it expects to expand the showcase into a global franchise.
The chance for cardholders to attend facsimiles of famous dining destinations from Tanzania and Japan could help Mastercard attract high-spending customers and set itself apart. Similarly, Marriott International recently tapped into gourmet food to help distinguish itself, offering a festival featuring culinary, beverage and mindfulness experts on a private island available to members of the hotel chain's loyalty program.
Priceless is the latest attempt by Mastercard to refresh its marketing. In January, the company removed its name from its logo in recognition of smaller screen real estate on devices like smartphones. Mastercard built on the idea with the unveiling of a sonic branding a month later. The audio identity exists across digital and retail channels, and is emphasized in advertising.