MasterCard to Sponsor Excite Shopping Channel

MasterCard International and Excite said they formed a strategic marketing alliance aimed at building consumer awareness of the benefits of shopping online.

The companies said they want educate consumers that shopping on the Web can be fast, easy and safe; build consumer awareness of the Excite Shopping Channel; and promote the MasterCard brand as the preferred way to purchase products and services on the Web.

The multi-year alliance names MasterCard as the exclusive payment system sponsor of Excite’s Shopping Channel. Financial arrangements were not disclosed.

To kick off the joint initiative and highlight the benefits of shopping online with Excite, MasterCard was to promote Excite’s Shopping Channel in its first-ever Internet-related TV advertisement during NBC’s final “Seinfeld” episode.

This commercial is a continuation of the new MasterCard “Priceless” campaign. It directs viewers to “get started now at excite.com” and will continue to run in the MasterCard commercial rotation.

As part of the agreement, Excite will integrate the Secure Electronic Transaction (SET) protocol on Excite’s Shopping Channel.

“By building brand awareness in the online space, MasterCard is extending its leadership in Internet commerce and establishing a prominent signpost on a key piece of real estate,” said Lawrence Flanagan, vice president of U.S. region advertising at Purchase, NY-based MasterCard International.

Said George Bell, president and CEO of Redwood City, CA-based Excite: “By combining the strengths of MasterCard’s broad experience in consumer payments with Excite’s ability to deliver a fast, easy and safe Web-based shopping experience, both companies are strengthening their brands amongst a wider audience while giving the consumer a great experience online.”

The Excite Network consists of two well known brands on the Web, Excite and WebCrawler, and its subsidiaries; Classifieds2000, MatchLogic Inc., Excite Japan Co. Ltd. and Excite UK Ltd.

MasterCard International has 23,000 member financial institutions, serving consumers in 220 countries and territories.

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