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MasterCard International will announce this morning a special worldwide cardholder promotion in conjunction with Formula One racing. MasterCard holders will have the opportunity to join in the MasterCard sponsorship of a Formula One racing team by charging one of three sponsorship levels, ranging from $79 to $2,999. Rewards for sponsorship range from a special newsletter to dinner with the racing team. More than thirty million brochures will be inserted in MasterCard statements worldwide with a response of between 90,000 and 100,000 sponsorships expected. The association projects $10 million will be raised for MC/F1 racing team.

MasterCard International today announced a breakthrough sports sponsorship program with the creation of the MasterCard Lola Formula One Race Team. MasterCard is creating an unprecedented clubmember-funded partnership by paying the cost of the sponsorship entirely with revenue generated by the creation of an exclusive club of MasterCard cardholders. In exchange for membership dues, cardholders will receive an array of benefits, ranging from race team merchandise and apparel, to unmatched access to race drivers, teams and cars.

MasterCard has termed the program “reciprocal marketing,” because it leverages MasterCard’s global distribution network of member financial institutions, who will distribute club insert offerings to their cardholders. Club dues, payable only with MasterCard payment products, fund the sponsorship and provide MasterCard and its members with sponsorship benefits at virtually no cost.

Through reciprocal marketing, MasterCard acts not as the ‘owner’ as companies have historically with sponsorships, but as the ‘agent.’ “This is something completely new in the arena of sponsorship marketing,” according to Mava Heffler, senior vice president of Global Promotions/Sponsorships for MasterCard International. “We have removed the middle man and effectively put the sport in the hands of participating MasterCard cardholders.”

Another key reason for MasterCard’s development of this reciprocal marketing agreement is the benefits it brings to member financial institutions. In addition to being part of a popular global sponsorship that would not be possible without reciprocal marketing, they benefit directly from increased card usage and increased brand awareness through signage on the car and all other team related materials. Additional card usage and brand visibility opportunities are manifested through an affinity card featuring the MasterCard Lola Formula One car and team drivers.

Through statement inserts distributed via participating member financial institutions, MasterCard is introducing the club memberships to its cardholders in February 1997 in Europe, South America and the Asia/Pacific region. Cardholders can join the club annually at any of three levels, or tiers. Benefits increase from Tier I to Tier III and range from exclusive team merchandise and newsletters to exclusive access to private auctions featuring authentic Lola racing parts, and invitations to off-track viewing parties and dinners with the team’s drivers.

MasterCard’s creation and introduction of reciprocal marketing represents what may become the future of sponsorship marketing. MasterCard expects that reciprocal marketing will eventually play a large role in redefining sponsorship opportunities — signaling a new level of participation for cardholders. MasterCard selected Formula One as the testing ground for reciprocal marketing because of the sport’s reputation for technological innovation and worldwide fan base. “Working with Formula One is a wonderful fit for MasterCard,” Heffler said. “We believe that the future of money will be driven by technology. For MasterCard to be a part of what is arguably the most technologically advanced sport in the world presents a great opportunity. This kind of high-tech sports imagery, combined with the unique strategy behind reciprocal marketing, allows strategic marketing alliances, while supporting our overall global sponsorship platform.” Formula One is the most watched sport in the world during its nine-month season, seen by more than 45 billion viewers in 200+ countries.

In a statement, British Prime Minister John Major said, “I would like to wish both Lola and MasterCard every success for the launch of their new partnership. This is indeed an innovative development. As their constituency Member of Parliament, I know that Lola has, over many years, had considerable success in its own right. They have helped train many engineers and designers who have themselves gone on to have a crucial influence in other key companies in the British motorsport industry.”

The four-year agreement establishes MasterCard Lola Formula One as the first “lifestyle car,” featuring sponsor brands focused toward a very specific, targeted demographic audience. MasterCard and Lola will announce the drivers later this year and unveil the car early next year. As part of the reciprocal marketing agreement, MasterCard International generates revenue from royalties created by the licensing of the MasterCard/Lola Formula One logo for use by third parties around the world.

Brett Trafford, Marketing Director, for Lola Formula One, says that Lola looks forward to the partnership. “To be involved in Formula One is a great achievement. MasterCard is a prestigious global brand transcending geographic and language frontiers. This innovative sponsorship program perfectly complements our planned technical strategy. Formula One will be a global test of our skills and knowledge — our belief is that Lola can deliver for MasterCard both on and off the track. We are privileged to be competing with the best.”

Lola has announced the development of a new engine exclusively for the MasterCard Lola Formula One program. “We are excited to have entered into this partnership with Lola,” Heffler said. “Lola has set the standard of excellence in Indycar racing for a number of years. We’re confident that MasterCard Lola Formula One will achieve similar standards.”

If you would like more information on how to join the MasterCard Formula One World Championship Club, please fax name, phone number and address to Advantage International at 770-980-0544. Please mark your fax “MasterCard Formula One World Championship Club.” Advantage International was instrumental in helping MasterCard bring this sponsorship opportunity to its members and cardholders.

MasterCard International, a payments company with one of the world’s most recognized brands, is dedicated to helping more than 22,000 financial institutions around the world offer consumers a variety of payment options. MasterCard remains focused on shaping the future of money by expanding acceptance of its global brands (MasterCard(R), Maestro(R) and Cirrus(R), the world’s largest ATM network) and maintaining reliable, secure networks facilitating global value exchange. MasterCard has nearly 370 million credit and debit cards that are accepted at more than 13 million acceptance locations worldwide. In 1995, gross dollar volume generated was almost $500 billion. MasterCard can be reached through its World Wide Web site at MasterCard Introduces Major Breakthrough In Sponsorships Creates an entirely new genre of sponsorship called “Reciprocal Marketing” where consumers actually are a part of the action.

Who: MasterCard International is once again demonstrating its commitment to its member financial institutions, merchants and cardholders, and its position as an industry leader through its work in sponsorship marketing. What: MasterCard has announced the creation of MasterCard Lola Formula One and the establishment of a new genre of sponsorships called “reciprocal marketing.” Why: To provide MasterCard member financial institutions with strong business-building opportunities via a popular worldwide sponsorship at virtually no cost to them. Overall, the brand benefits from increased visibility.

How: MasterCard is sponsoring the MasterCard Lola Formula One Race Team with British engine maker Lola for the 1997 Formula One season.

The cost of the sponsorship will be paid for exclusively with revenue generated by the establishment of an exclusive club of cardholders who, in exchange for membership dues, receive benefits associated with MasterCard’s sponsorship of the team including licensed merchandise, event access, etc. Those membership dues, payable only by MasterCard payment products, in turn fund the sponsorship.

MasterCard has removed the middleman, creating “Reciprocal Marketing,” an entirely new type of sponsorship where fan participation is a key element to the success of the sponsorship.

Mava Heffler, senior vice president of Global Promotions/Sponsorships for MasterCard International calls the arrangement “a major breakthrough in the area of sponsorships.” She added, “We expect that this will eventually become the future of sponsorships. The idea that race fans can actually be this close to the action is unprecedented, and signifies a new level of participation for fans.”

Where: MasterCard and Lola created “MasterCard Lola Formula One” with the signing of the partnership agreement November 5 at the Lola factory in the United Kingdom. The sponsorship is for the 1997 Formula One season.

Program outline: MasterCard cardholders have the opportunity to “subscribe” to the exclusive club annually at one of three levels. Benefits increase from Tier I to Tier III and range from exclusive team merchandise and newsletter, to access to off-track viewing parties and events and dinner with the team’s drivers.

Benefits of the sponsorship to MasterCard members:

1. Increased MasterCard card usage.

2. Increased card issuance, since members can offer new/potential cardholders an exclusive MasterCard Lola Formula One affinity card (to be issued as a Gold MasterCard(R) and a Maestro(R) card).

3. Increased recognition for the MasterCard brand.

Benefits of the sponsorship to MasterCard cardholders:

1. The opportunity to be a part of the MasterCard Lola Formula One race team.

2. Cardholders can join a club providing them with exclusive Formula One merchandise and benefits, available only to them.

3. The ability to choose their level of participation from three tiers of membership. Benefits increase from Tier I to Tier III and range from items such as exclusive team merchandise and newsletters to exclusive access to private auctions featuring authentic Lola racing parts, and invitations to off-track viewing parties and dinners with the team’s drivers.

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