MasterCard: Larry Flanagan

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The tide began to turn for MasterCard in 1997 with "Priceless," its award-winning, much-imitated campaign from Interpublic Group of Cos.' McCann-Erickson Worldwide, New York. But the payment brand finally achieved real promotional traction within the last year.

The breakthrough occurred when "Priceless" was integrated into several major promotions for travel destinations and during the holiday shopping season. Examples included travel prizes awarded to consumers through Web site and retail-side promotions. Earlier this year, a "Priceless"-theme promotion even gave away a private island.

"Promotion plays such a crucial role in driving credit card usage," says Larry Flanagan, 46, chief marketing officer, who joined MasterCard International in 1996 from L'Oreal.

Although MasterCard remains the No. 2 payment brand behind Visa USA, MasterCard this summer announced its eighth consecutive quarter of double-digit gross dollar volume.

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