MasterCard made its big-game debut in Super Bowl XXX with this ad and another spot that focused on the card's security signature strip. The spots were created by Ammirati & Puris/Lintas, the successor to Ammirati & Puris, which won MasterCard's $60 million creative business in 1992.
The marketer's decision to appear in the game on Jan. 28, 1996, got attention not only because it had never been in the Super Bowl before but because Visa was an NFL sponsor, as The New York Times' Stuart Elliott reported:
But "this is not about an ambushing opportunity," said Joan Bogin, vice president for advertising for the United States region at Mastercard in Purchase, N.Y. "Rather, it reflects a new strategy to heighten our brand awareness, and nothing says you're here like the Super Bowl does."
Visa also ran two ads in Super Bowl XXX, a pair of spots 45 seconds each via Omnicom's BBDO New York.
Ad Age's reviewer, Bob Garfield, liked MasterCard's duo: "'Smart Money'?" he wrote. "Yeah, we'll buy that."
MasterCard liked the results, too, becoming a regular Super Bowl advertiser with subsequent appearances including "Zipper" and "India" (1998), "Toons" (1999), "Auction" (2001), "Homer Simpson Pricess" (2004), "Icons" (2005) and "MacGyver" and "Marathon Man" (2006).
AGENCY: Ammirati & Puris/Lintas