Which bonds more: Strong partnerships or a common enemy?

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This MasterCard MasterPass full page ad below was on the back of Section A of the Wall Street Journal (US edition) this past Saturday.

It’s the express line online

MasterPass Partnership - the myndset digital strategy

It really caught my attention for a number of reasons, not least of which is because it features a total of FIVE different companies/brands, none of which are owned by the other. Here’s a breakdown of the ad, as I read it:

  1. First, it’s an ad in traditional (paper) media talking about the expediency of online payment (with MasterPass).
  2. The ad features a Samsung tablet (although it could easily have chosen to show a generic tablet).
  3. The showcased app is GILT (leading luxury flash sales) who are clients of MasterPass, along with thousands of other online retailers, a dozen of whom are listed at the bottom of the ad.
  4. The GILT checkout page is decidedly dry (no imagery or color) even though ad is run in 5-colors. In other words, there was no attempt to glitz it up.
  5. The Paypal competitive option (the next tab beside Masterpass) is not blurred out.

Forming partners

Thinking of the marketing VP at each organization cited above (other than Paypal), one has to assume each was consulted by MasterPass in the creative process. What arrangements were made? Is it a form of coop advertising? Or was it done as a gesture of good faith?

In today’s fast-paced and open world, it is hard to make it alone. One of the routes is for companies to identify partners with whom the sum of the whole is bigger than the individual parts taken together. Partnerships can be project-based, values-based or, even, articulated around a common enemy. Which do you think bonds more?

Recipes for success?

There is no obvious recipe for success. It certainly helps to find a common ground and a theoretical win-win for all parties. However, for sure, no partnership works longer term without a basis of trust. {Tweet this!} I do not know how much negotiation had to go into the making of this multi-brand ad, but it sure makes a change from competition bashing. It says that MasterPass is working with a solid partnership eco-system. And, intuitively, that inspires a level of trust when I see the partners involved.

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