Mastercard Weaves Its Six-Note Brand Melody Into a Pop Single

Swedish singer Nadine Randle performs the track

While some folks insist jingles are vanishing, we'd say they're actually evolving in increasingly sophisticated ways, as brands amp up their audio identities in the voice-transaction age. 

A year ago, Mastercard launched comprehensive sonic branding anchored by an upbeat six-note melody. A version of the tune plays whenever consumers use their cards to make purchases, and in marketing initiatives, including this high-profile spot with singer Camilia Cabello that ran during the 2019 Grammy Awards. Variations were created across specific genres and geographies, ranging from opera to Latin music to pop, in order to enhance its appeal and impact.

Now, the financial services giant has engaged Swedish singer Nadine Randle for "Merry Go Round," a full-length single that incorporates the Mastercard melody. That sequence of notes adds a dimension of "passion and optimism" to the song, Randle says. Check out the keyboard-based power ballad below:

Merry Go Round

Randle will perform "Merry Go Round" on Wednesday at CES in Las Vegas during an event hosted by Mastercard and iHeartRadio. Eventually, the song will stream on Radio.com and other services.

In a sense, the release continues a long history of jingle/pop-song crossovers. One famous instance is "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing," a hippie-era smash that bowed in Coca-Cola's classic "Hilltop" commercial. More recently, Chris Brown's "Forever" and the Mark Ronson/Katy B track "Anywhere in the World" began their lives as jingles for a Wrigley's gum commercial and Coke's 2012 Olympic sponsorship, respectively. 

Fast forward to 2020 and "Merry Go Round," which Mastercard marketing chief Raja Rajamannar describes as "part of our broader strategy to design consumer journeys that cater to the senses and reinforce the brand in new and differentiated ways." 

The company is working with songwriter/producer Niclas Molinder "to identify emerging artists from across the globe who represent different genres of music in order to curate a sound that aligns with our brand promise of celebrating diversity and fostering a culture of inclusion," Rajamannar says,

These artists will contribute tracks in various styles, all integrating the Mastercard melody, for a digital album later this year. "Merry Go Round" will also appear in that collection. 

The move effectively launches the brand in the music business, a space W Hotels and others have mined in recent years by supporting artists, releasing content and staging festivals. 

Al Risi, music supervisor at music curation house Groove Guild, who's ridden the ups and downs of the music industry and branding for a quarter century—and was not involved in the Mastercard project—tells Muse: "I would hope that they embrace the culture with a plan that lifts the artist up and not just do this for the ink they will receive."

Risi doesn't begrudge Mastercard its "Priceless" music moments, but he urges the marketer to make a long-term commitment. "It's not a bad thing for the brand to get something out of it—they should, but its a fine line," Risi says. "It needs to come from an authentic place—a true belief in, and commitment to, the artists. Otherwise, it is just another short-term content play."

Mastercard's Rajamannar stresses that "music has always been an important part of our marketing efforts," adding that an appeal to all five senses "is imperative to how we're connecting with consumers and, likewise, the advancement of our brand and business."

CREDITS

Featured and Background Vocals by Nadine Randle
Produced by Petrus Vestberg and Niclas Molinder
Piano by Christoffer Nordenström
Instrument Programming by Petrus Vestberg
Mastered by Niclas Molinder

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David Gianatasio
David Gianatasio is senior editor at Clio Awards.

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