Mastercard debuts its 'sonic brand identity,' a lyrics-less melody

Sound strategy follows the debut of its wordless logo

Published On
Feb 11, 2019

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Mastercard is following up on its new text-free logo by leaning more into audio branding. On Friday, Mastercard debuted its "sonic brand identity," a lyrics-less melody that gives new meaning to brand jingles.

The new work has one core, 12-second melody that Mastercard will adapt into different versions of varying lengths and instruments. The brand plans to use the sound, developed with Mike Shinoda of band Linkin Park, for things such as hold music, ringtones and point-of-sale acceptance chimes in stores.

"Sound adds a powerful new dimension to our brand identity," Raja Rajamannar, Mastercard's chief marketing and communications officer, in a statement.

The new sound is part of a back-to-basics streamlining for Mastercard that includes a wordless logo the brand debuted last month. The symbol puts the payments company on the level of other big-name operators such as Nike and Apple. At the time, Rajamannar noted to Ad Age that as consumers are focused on smaller screens, real estate for brand logos is shrinking.

Similarly, Mastercard is reacting to another trend: the rising popularity of voice commerce. The brand cited a report from last year in which strategy consulting firm OC&C Strategy Consultants predicted voice shopping will hit $40 billion in 2022, up from $2 billion in 2018. Many brands are beginning to evaluate their audio strategies in an era in which Amazon's Echo and Google Home are becoming more prominent. Two years ago, Burger King gained widespread attention for using a TV ad to elicit a response from Google Home. Experts say brands need to define their audio DNA as they develop earworm-worthy jingles.

Mastercard plans to boost its new audio offering with a marketing campaign starring musical artist Camila Cabello. It will also highlight the sound at the Mastercard Sensory Lab within retailer Fred Segal's Los Angles store.