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If Grammy Winners Thank Fans, MasterCard Might Have a Prize in Store

Musicians aren’t the only ones who stand to win prizes during CBS’ Sunday broadcast of the 59th Annual Grammy Awards.

As part of a promotional venture, credit-card giant MasterCard will award prizes to users of its “digital-wallet”  MasterPass. Customers who are signed up to use the payment system can opt to buy special prizes for a dollar every time a Grammy is handed out. Every time a winner thanks his or her fans, the company will make available a better tier of awards, said Joyce King Thomas, chief creative officer of McCann XBC, the Interpublic Group agency that serves MasterCard.

“We believe music is a major passion for our customers and we are helping them experience it,” said Thomas, in an interview.

The marketing effort suggests advertisers are looking for new ways to harness the power of digital wallets, which allow consumers to use a pocket device to buy things on a whim (or with more considered deliberation). Just as AT&T managed to weave itself into a viewer’s desire to vote for a favorite “American Idol” contestant, MasterCard is placing itself into the conversation that will take place during the Grammy’s.

Among the prizes that will be available, said Thomas, are movie tickets, a gift certificate for designer clothing and a trip to next year’s Grammy’s ceremony. A TV commercial, digital promotions and social-media outreach will help alert MasterCard customers to sign up for MasterPass, she said

MasterCard is likely to have a lot of rewards to give out, but its agency did a some research to determine how likely the financial-services firm will have to make good on its higher level of enticements. A survey of recent Grammy broadcasts indicated that the winning artists thank their fans just one-third of the time, Thomas said.  “We are going to thank the fans for them,” she added.

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