Writing exclusively for WARC, Raja Rajamannar outlines a lengthy process that involved much research and works with artists, composers, musicologists, and agencies.
“This has helped us to create a sonic brand architecture, which we believe is the first of its kind anywhere,” he says.
“It starts with the DNA and builds from there,” he explains. “The DNA is the core of our sonic strategy; it’s the first building block. It is nothing but a small melody” – and that melody has to be simple, neutral, likable and memorable.
At the same time, it cannot be a dominant element but has to play a supporting role to the brand and the message. And it has to adaptable – to the 210 countries in which Mastercard operates as well as being capable of cutting across different genres of music, “whether that be opera, where we sponsor Carnegie Hall, at one extreme, or electronic dance music at the other. It should be equally at home in all these environments.”
As well as appearing as background music on all ads, a sub-set of this melody is what Mastercard calls its ‘mogo’ – a musical logo of fewer than three seconds that will initially be used as a sign-off on the ads, but which has far wider applications in the future.
“In years to come our aim is for the mogo to translate into a sound at the point of sale,” Rajamannar says, “so when a consumer shops and uses their card to pay, once the transaction has gone through successfully, they will get a confirmation sound.”
He expects that hundreds of versions will be created around the world, with each country and region free to choose what they want.
“Our guidelines mean that every version has to evoke the melody, so whichever sound the consumer comes across – the full melody, the mogo or the acceptance sound – it starts to build a sonic identity for Mastercard as a brand.”