Mastercard adds branding flavor with sweets, restaurants

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When health care executive Raj Rajamannar joined Mastercard as marketing chief six years ago, his background at Humana and WellPoint hinted at a different perspective.

Rajamannar this week unveiled the latest in a series of new “Priceless” brand experiences and features that span the senses, from visual and aural cues to a macaron dessert with flavors customized to reflect Mastercard’s brand.

Sourced from the New York City-based outlet of French bakery Ladurée, Mastercard has announced custom macarons meant to evoke the taste of “passion” (based on custard apple) and “optimism” (with the Korean fruit yuzu as a raw ingredient), according to a recent press release.

The sweets will be unveiled at the New York Times Food Festival next week and soon will be available for purchase online at priceless.com. Customers may pick up the Mastercard macarons at Ladurée’s New York store in Soho and at other U.S. and international locations later this year, the release said.

The wave of brand changes began in January, when Mastercard dropped the company’s name from its logo, followed by a brand jingle added in February, and an airport bistro that opened this summer in Rome with an interactive menu on the tables.

Pepper the robot — a SoftBank construct which, years ago, began accepting Masterpass payments at Pizza Hut locations in Asia — will greet visitors at Rome’s Bistro by Mastercard. After ordering, patrons may check out through contactless payment technology built into tabletops that also display flight departure data and the weather in various destination cities.

Elsewhere in Rome’s airport, Mastercard customers may park in an area reserved for cardholders with a fully automated ticketless process.

Next month Mastercard launches reservations on OpenTable for a series of pop-up “restaurants-in-residence” at the Spring Studios space that include renowned eateries. The first three are The Rock, a restaurant in Tanzania, London’s famous Lyaness bar and Peruvian restaurant Kjolle, according to the press release.

“With this first taste of Priceless, we are pushing our brand into uncharted territory and building on our expertise in creating the most extraordinary and delightful culinary experiences that you can get exclusively with Mastercard,” Rajamannar said in the press release.

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