Cannes Lions

I'm not a robot

MOSAIC, Moscow / MASTERCARD / 2019

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Case Film






For many years Mastercard has been involved into initiatives supporting female leadership and career development all around the world. Data clearly shows that the increasing percentage of women on the top spots from 0 to 30 percent is correlated with a 15 percent jump in profits, also startups with women involved show 10% more in profit growth.

Meanwhile women continue to face discrimination in the workplace: just 24% of senior roles across the world are held by women and women make 30% less money than men.

The goal of the project was to change public opinion about female leadership in Russia and to encourage them to pursue their dream careers.


People subconsciously think that men make better managers. When asked “Who should be a leader”, they automatically answer: “Men”, like they are robots. Mastercard decided to make people use their own head, not just act like robots, and fight their stereotypes about women.

And how do people prove they are not robots? When someone goes online on their smartphone, a special tool comes up asking a user to prove they are not a robot. reCAPTCHA! It’s a well-known online test that gives users a task to pick certain objects within the variety of images. Mastercard introduced “I’m not a robot” – the first ever GENDER EQUALITY CAPTCHA.


First of all, it was important to have a campaign that would make an impact on people from the corporate world, because that’s where women mostly face gender-based restrictions. Interesting enough, everyone involved in this sphere is quite open to the concept of gender equality. For this very reason the campaign was held in Moscow and Saint-Petersburg – Russia’s two main business centers. The campaign went viral on social media and received great media coverage which helped reach more audience.

In order to get more reach we picked the biggest media-channel – Wi-Fi on public transport and subway where people use their snartphones. About 10 million people use it every day.


We changed the regular reCAPTCHA and put up photos of men and women instead of standard pictures. To pass the test one needed to pick who they thought was a senior manager. But none of the people on the photos were actually top managers. In fact, they were just random stock models.

Anyway, people would pick men based on their stereotypes. After every round they received a new set of people and a new work position (vice-president of company, marketing director, CEO, financial director, etc.)

People were surprised to see a reCAPTCHA likes this but continued with the test. As a result, women were picked in only 24% of the cases. After finishing the test, the truth was revealed: “You’ve failed the test because of gender stereotypes. You automatically think of a man when you think of executives”. Users were then asked to support Mastercard’s efforts on developing female leadership.


For about 2 weeks every Wi-Fi user saw this reCAPTCHA on Moscow and Saint Petersburg public transport. The project received enormous support from bloggers, mass media and leaders of Russian feminist community.

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