MasterCard and Roots hook up for Play

A partnership between the global credit card co, fashion retailer Roots Canada and Right to Play highlights the importance of play in African communities.

Play’s the thing in the latest iteration of MasterCard Canada’s long-running ‘Priceless’ campaign.

Created by Toronto’s MacLaren McCann, a TV spot highlights the partnership between the global credit card company, fashion retailer Roots Canada and Right to Play – a global humanitarian organization dedicated to improving the lives of children in impoverished nations.

Filmed in Johannesburg, South Africa, the spot features dozens of children from African communities. The ad follows the ‘Priceless’ campaign’s customary approach, with dollar values being attached to various facets of life, before indicating how MasterCard can help create ‘priceless’ moments. Which in this case is by marrying national pride with charity, as the spot informs viewers that a portion of sales from Roots’ new Canada collection will be donated to Right to Play.

The spot opens on a dirt field where a group of children are playing soccer, then zooms in for such close-ups as a one-legged child on crutches who kicks the ball, accompanied by the super ‘Self esteem. $9.’ The super? ‘Play. Priceless.’ ’Most of us in North America take it for granted, but the notion of play really is priceless,’ says Lilian Tomovich, VP of brand marketing for MasterCard Canada.

The ‘Priceless’ campaign has spawned over 500 TV executions worldwide since debuting in 1997. ‘Priceless has really become part of pop culture’ says Tomovich. ’It’s a great platform that can be customized for any market we’re in. It doesn’t matter whether we’re in Singapore or Bangladesh.’

The spot will appear in both 60- and 30-second versions and will begin airing nationally on Nov. 16. It will be accompanied by print ads in the Globe and Mail, point-of-purchase materials in Roots stores and an online component on