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‘Consumers are not interested in ads. They want uninterrupted experiences’: Mastercard chief marketer

Mastercard's chief marketing officer Raja Rajamannar has said that people are no longer interested in advertising, and instead want to experience brands.

"Now if you see the trend, consumers are not interested in ads. They want uninterrupted experiences. The fact that there are 225 million consumers who are active users of ad block[ers] tells you that they're saying 'no I don't want your ads,'" he told CNBC's Carolin Roth in the latest episode of Marketing Media Money.

"How do you reach consumers? That kind of a scenario is a not about storytelling. It is all about story making, it is through experiences that you give consumers where they become a part of the story, you enable them to create and tell their own stories which we call story making."

Mastercard's chief marketing officer, Raja Rajamannar
Mastercard's chief marketing officer, Raja Rajamannar

Rajamannar added that Mastercard has evolved its "Priceless" website beyond being an advertising platform, and towards more of an experiential one, using the concept of surprising and delighting customers.

When people use their cards, they are automatically entered into a draw to win surprises, such as meeting a favorite film or music star. At this year's BRIT music awards, for example, a cardholder and her family met British singer Robbie Williams, while Gianluigi Buffon, goalkeeper for Italian soccer team Juventus, surprised a fan during a European league final last year.

Meanwhile, the Priceless Cities website lets cardholders buy experiences such as food tastings, VIP seats to awards, or get discounts on shopping.

American actress Jamie Chung in Mastercard's selfie studio at the Money 20/20 conference in Las Vegas in October 2016
Isaac Brekken/Getty Images for Mastercard
American actress Jamie Chung in Mastercard's selfie studio at the Money 20/20 conference in Las Vegas in October 2016

"What we realized is that advertising is not the way to go. It's not about communicating but it's about story making and hence we have to shift to an experiential platform. So Priceless is now for us as a holistic marketing platform, which means in all the four Ps of marketing [product, promotion, price and place], Priceless is infused," Rajamannar said.

He added that consumers' expectations are higher than ever, demanding the best price, wanting brands to "delight" them, be authentic and do something "good for society."

"The first thing that any brand has to do is to realize that this is [the] reality [they have] got to deal with. There is no point in complaining that the consumer is expecting too much," he said.

"Marketing Media Money" will be broadcast on CNBC on Friday 17 March 2017 at 11pm CET.

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