'Buy Buy Buy': MasterCard Signs Justin Timberlake as Pitchman

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MasterCard and Justin Timberlake inked-a two-year endorsement deal for the entertainer to promote the card network's "Priceless Cities" marketing initiative.

The effort begins with a May 5 concert in New York City. MasterCard customers can register in a contest to be one of 2,000 consumers given the opportunity to buy tickets to attend the Timberlake performance, which will cost $129.50 plus tax.

The Purchase, N.Y.-based card brand began its "Priceless Cities" marketing initiative in 2011, offering consumers access to exclusive events and other promotions. The campaign is currently active in 15 cities, including Chicago.

Many recent celebrity endorsement deals have paired card products with the likes of singer Justin Bieber, comedian George Lopez and personal finance advisor Suze Orman, along with celebrity business moguls like former basketball player Magic Johnson and Def Jam Recordings founder Russell Simmons. The arrangements, typically for prepaid cards, don't always yield positive results—like in the case of the now-defunct Kardashian Kard—and the practice has been criticized for being out of touch with the targeted consumers of prepaid products.

But this latest payments industry celebrity endorsement deal focuses on building consumer loyalty to the MasterCard brand, rather than associating the Grammy- and Emmy-award winner with a specific card product. The effort will include "co-created content, events and experiences as well as consumer engagement opportunities," according to a MasterCard press release.

"When people think about access to music and entertainment, we want them to think of MasterCard," Alfredo Gangotena, MasterCard chief marketing officer, says in the release. "We've had a role in this space for some time but are now looking to really put a stake in the ground and we're doing so by tapping into one of the most prominent global entertainment and business minds, Justin Timberlake."

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