Prepaid cards and underbanked
consumers would seem to be a natural fit, but many consumer
segments, such as the Hispanic segment in the US, have yet to be
convinced about the benefits of prepaid cards. MasterCard is hoping
to change that with the launch of a new Spanish language campaign,
as Charles Davis
reports

MasterCard is launching a targeted
Hispanic marketing and financial literacy campaign promoting the
use of its debit and prepaid products in the US. While the Hispanic
population and its buying power in the US has skyrocketed, the
segment is still a relatively untapped market for the card issuer,
as Hispanics tend to prefer using cash and cheques to plastic.

MasterCard aims to change that, one consumer
at a time, through a combination of mass marketing and individual
education, said Chris Jogis, MasterCard senior vice-president of US
consumer marketing.

“The overall objective is to introduce
Hispanics to the convenience of prepaid, which is a great entry
point for consumers into the world of card-based payments,” Jogis
said. “We have been marketing directly to Hispanics for a decade
now, and we want to build on that and introduce them to prepaid, in
a way that speaks to them culturally and helps them
financially.”

Hispanics and financial inclusion

Hispanic consumers are a large part of the
“underbanked” population, which lacks relationships with
traditional financial institutions or prefers using alternative
providers like cheque cashiers or remittance companies.

Understanding the benefits of products like
everyday prepaid cards, which enable online purchases, access to
ATMs, direct deposit of pay cheques, and are safer to carry than
cash, can be an important first step toward financial inclusion
within the payments system.

The new Spanish language marketing and
consumer education campaign, designed with the creative assistance
of MasterCard’s McCann Erickson ‘Priceless’ advertising team,
premiered recently with a television commercial intended to
persuade consumers to switch from cash to prepaid reloadable
cards.

The 30-second Spanish language ‘Priceless’
commercial, ‘Quebradita’, which focuses on how consumers can better
manage money through the use of debit and prepaid cards, marks the
first time MasterCard has advertised prepaid cards on TV.

Capitalising on a Hispanic dance craze, the
spot opens with two dancers performing the Quebradita – translated
as “little break” – an acrobatic Latin-American dance style known
by its Western clothing, hat tricks and flips. As the dancers
perform, their cash flies everywhere, causing audience members to
duck. Coins spray waiters and shoot holes in the band’s drum kit,
as one customer huddles under a table and presents his MasterCard
debit card in an attempt to flee the hailstorm of coins.

In a witty, culturally significant way, the
spot illustrates the message that prepaid is an easy and secure way
to pay, rather than fumbling with cash.

Targeted financial education

“We were looking for what we called
‘passion points’ – areas in which Hispanics speak to one another
culturally – and this dance craze seemed so much more universal but
also more timely than other things like sports and such,” Jogis
said.

“Like all the ‘Priceless’ spots, we
are trying to talk to the consumer in a fun way, but also get the
message across, and we think this spot really works.”

Quebradita will run in 11 US markets where
there is a high concentration of Hispanic consumers: Chicago,
Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Phoenix, Sacramento,
San Antonio, San Francisco and Harlingen, Texas, Jogis said.

In addition to TV, MasterCard is using Spanish
language radio ads, as well as out-of-home and online
advertising.

MasterCard is also working with Univision
Communications and the Hispanic Heritage Foundation, sponsor of the
Hispanic Heritage Awards and Hispanic Heritage Youth Awards, to
host a variety of financial education events for consumers. The
financial education series will be conducted in several cities in
the country with a strong US Hispanic population footprint.

“These financial literacy events will get us
talking face-to-face, in language, with Hispanic consumers, and our
research shows that is the very best way to market to them,” Jogis
said. “We are also going to follow that up with a lot of
out-of-home marketing in places like cheque-cashing centres and
laundromats.”

A tie-in with Univision’s successful financial
literacy programme ‘Cuentas Claras’ (Clear Finances) will leverage
elements across Univision’s television, radio, and online platforms
including the grassroots financial education events Additionally,
Julie Stav, Univision’s financial expert, will be on hand at
various grassroots events to provide tips on how to balance a
budget, understand credit and save for one’s future.

Education critical

Jogis said that MasterCard will also
continue to build on its robust online presence,
www.mastercardenespanol.com, where US Hispanic cardholders can find
information on MasterCard offerings available to Hispanics to help
manage their financial needs.

Jogis said that MasterCard has made impressive
inroads into the Hispanic market, but added that the potential for
prepaid is significant.

“Hispanics are the largest and fastest-growing
ethnic group in the US, representing about 15 percent of the total
population, according to the US Census,” Jogis said. “But they are
much more used to cash, and in this campaign we are showing and
educating them about the benefits of electronic payments.”

US Hispanic consumers