Business challenge

As our country and world grappled with some of the most challenging issues of our time, brands needed to pivot how they were reaching and communicating with their consumers.

With this in mind, Mastercard turned to IBM Watson Advertising to educate consumers about their partnership with ‘Stand Up to Cancer’ and their campaign to donate up to $4,000,000 to help fund cancer research.


Mastercard leveraged IBM Watson Advertising Accelerator as part of IBM Watson Advertising’s Call for Creative initiative which gave 5 premium advertisers an instance of Accelerator to use for free as long as it was used in an open and purposeful way.

Accelerator uses AI to rapidly and continuously learn which creative elements will resonate with each audience based on not only how consumers react but also on a multitude of other key signals such as DMA, device type, and time of day.

Mastercard leveraged Accelerator to predict and serve ad units with creative elements most likely to be relevant and engaging for consumers and therefore increase engagement and action, ultimately educating consumers, uncovering creative insights, and showcasing the power of AI to bring about positive change.

Mastercard also learned valuable creative insights like:

  • Action-based headlines like “Order Online” and “Tap & Go” drove higher engagement than thematic headlines like, “Help Support Cancer Research”
  • “Start Something Priceless” was the highest performing CTA which suggests impactful, unique CTAs resonated with users more than generic CTAs like “Learn More” and “Explore”



creative variations


lift in CTR from start of campaign


campaign CTR above their benchmark


Mastercard is a global technology company in the payments industry. Their mission is to connect and power an inclusive, digital economy that benefits everyone, everywhere by making transactions safe, simple, smart and accessible.