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Mastercard is a leader in global payments and technology, connecting billions of consumers, thousands of financial institutions and millions of businesses. The Academy has been tasked with creating a programme of content to demonstrate that Mastercard understands shopping habits and is the simple and safe way to shop online.

In early 2020, life as we know it ground to a halt thanks to Covid-19 and the coronavirus pandemic. One by one European countries went into lockdown, with people ordered to stay at home to save lives. We needed a story Mastercard could own, that would demonstrate its position as a safe way to shop online – but the only safety anybody was interested in was, understandably, staying safe from Covid.


As well as demonstrating how shoppers were going online for everyday essentials like food and toiletries, we wanted to understand more about behaviour and trends during lockdown. How and where was spending increasing? We mined data to find interesting facts and figures, such as increased spending on experiences like online workouts and film subscriptions. Charitable donations online were another key area – lockdown made the public more generous. Finally we used resources like Google Trends and Glimpse alongside the Mastercard data to work out some of the more unusual things people were buying, like hair clippers for DIY haircuts and ukuleles as people used their free time to learn new skills.

To support the stories, we provided tips and advice from Mastercard on safe online shopping, seamlessly working the brand into the content and offering ownership and expertise.


This was a great exercise in quick and agile turnaround. Going with the news agenda in a disruptive way proved far more effective than attempting to go against it.

We released a pan-European story over 15 countries, looking at how online spending had changed over lockdown. This was supported by a range of snackable, shareable and useful social content including gifs, videos, infographics, Did You Know soundbites and tips from Mastercard on staying safe online.


To date, we have generated more than 650 pieces of content across all types of media – online, print, social and broadcast. Leading publications in the UK, Belgium, Poland, Austria and Germany all covered the story extensively, leading to a reach of more than 13m. The story has sparked debates on TV and radio demonstrating interest in a topical story with a fresh and upbeat angle. Through internal communications Mastercard employees across Europe were also engaged with the story, sharing it from their own social channels.

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