SENSORY OVERLOAD: The Fashion Group International’s annual “Night of Stars” usually serves up a surprise or two: Who remembers Kanye West’s long and winding introduction for Rick Owens in 2019 or Alber Elbaz calling out the fashion industry for its ever-accelerating churn in 2015?
This year, Mastercard offered a little something to the unexpected: the company unveiled two fragrances under the Priceless label. Guests lingering near the red carpet at the gala at Cipriani South Street got a whiff of what will be available early next year exclusively at Priceless.com. They could also learn about how the fragrances were developed.
Packaged in red and yellow, the credit card company’s colors of choice, the fragrances on offer are Priceless Passion, a rose centifolia pays in grasse and rose absolute from Morocco, and Priceless Optimism, a scent built around Vetiver Haiti from the Firmenich NaturalsTogether program. The fragrances were created by Dora Baghriche and Marie Salamagne. Priceless plays off a tag line in Mastercard’s marketing.
The company has a robust base to draw from. Mastercard’s U.S. credit purchase volume was reportedly $837 billion at the end of last year, compared to $909 billion in 2019. As of the end of March, there were 249 million Mastercard credit cards in the U.S. and 725 million in the rest of the world.
Multisensory branding is something that Mastercard has waded into before, first with a symbol-only brand mark two years ago and then with a Mastercard melody that made its debut shortly thereafter. After dabbling in two custom Priceless macarons with Ladurée, Mastercard introduced its first flagship restaurant, naturally called Priceless, in New York City.
Noting that science has shown that fragrance has the ability to evoke powerful emotional connections, Mastercard’s chief marketing and communications officer and president of health care, Raja Rajamannar, said the company hopes to provide “an uplifting, immersive and unforgettable experience” to consumers with Priceless. He was slated to pick up the Tech and Brand Innovation award at Night of Stars.
The fragrances are part of the company’s strategy to connect with people in nonintrusive ways and to get them closer to the brand, he said. As for what other categories may be introduced, Rajamannar declined to specify, other than to say the brand and its multisensory approach is always evolving.