Advertiser: MasterCard International
Agency: McCann-Erickson, New York
Challenge: Leverage sponsorship of Major League Baseball at a time when Americans are fixated on the race to establish a new single-season home run record.
The Ad: The spot uses clips from games in which sluggers Mark McGwire of the St. Louis Cardinals and Sammy Sosa of the Chicago Cubs hit homers. An announcer says that new balls cost $9 each, but a record-breaking 62nd homer is priceless. "Some things money can't buy," the announcer says, incorporating MasterCard's slogan. "For everything else, there's MasterCard."
Comment: Thanks to its year-old association with Major League Baseball, MasterCard is among the few advertisers able to use McGwire, a shrinking violet on the endorsement circuit who on Tuesday broke Roger Maris' long-standing record of 61 runs in a single season. (Sosa is also closing in on Maris' total of 61 runs.) In negotiating rights to use McGwire's image, MasterCard scored a coup. Each time the spot airs, fans relive a piece of sports history, courtesy of MasterCard. $$$
Ads are rated from $ to $$$$, based on probable effectiveness and tastefulness, with $$$$ being best.