After 50 years, Mastercard’s logo is shedding its dedication and identity tied to plastic.
The company announced today a plan to gradually roll out a rebrand that does not include the word “Mastercard,” leaving only a Venn diagram of red, yellow and orange circles that it hopes will put it in a nameless category along with Apple’s apple, Nike’s swoosh and Target’s bullseye.
The update is a continuation of Mastercard’s effort to become more than a credit card company. Over the past few years, the company has been self-identifying as a “tech company” while also modernizing its look to appeal across all global markets and generations for a mobile era.
According to Mastercard chief marketing officer Raja Rajamannar, the company spent the past 20 months conducting research in multiple countries. While he didn’t disclose the full sample size or which countries, he said the company looked at both developing and developed markets where 80 percent of participants were able to identify Mastercard by its logo alone.
“When the consumer’s interest and attrition span is fleeting, it is important for us to be visible, and on the other hand, to create the right impact,” he said.
Rajamannar said the company had to “convince [themselves] that we were doing the right thing” and worked with various partners, including banks, sponsored events and shops, to test everything from digital screens and billboards to store window decals.
While it might seem risky to remove the actual name from the iconic logo, the company thinks the extra space will allow the circles to take up more real estate while also feeling less confined on smaller smartphone and smartwatches screens.
“We needed to have an approach that is truly global,” he said. “[Customers and clients] need to have continuity, and at the same time, we needed to have something that is not just a fad and that has a functional benefit.”
The rollout won’t all happen at once. For example, if some credit card companies have already printed a batch of cards, Rajamannar said Mastercard doesn’t plan to throw them out just to add the new logo, meaning that some cardholders might not receive the new look until their next card.
“Nothing is pushing us to say we have to do this change around the world in one single stroke,” he said.