MasterCard today begins airing the tirst of two World Cup television commercials, a lively, colorful, and lighthearted spot called "We Are the World Cup."

Flashes of soccer players, stadiums, parking lots, and the soccer great Pele, who is shown lip-syncing a line about MasterCard, highlight a 30-second spot that will run nationally through the final World Cup match July 17.

A translated version of the same ad will run on the Spanish language network Univision, which will broadcast all 52 World Cup matches.

Pele makes an appearance in a second spot, "World Cup II," that begins airing on the first day of the trounament, June 17. In this spot, Pele, who is MasterCards's World Cup sponsorhsip- the biggest sponsorship ever taken by the New York association--and positons MasterCard as a global brand.

First World Cup in U.S.

The spots repeat the "smart money" theme created by Ammirati & Puris Inc. in New York. MasterCard said its two spots will be broadcast more than 900 times as part of the ABC and ESPN English-language coverage of the 52 games.

MasterCard joins Coca-Cola and McDonald's, two other corporate World Cup sponsors, in beginning to run ads leading up to the games. U.S. sponsors are capitalizing on the fact that the World Cup is being played in this country for the first time.

"We Are the World Cup" underlines why MasterCard is sponsoring World Cup, said Joan Bogin, vice president of U.S. advertising, in that it has a message for non-soccer fans.

The spot opens aud closes with a hand holding a MasterCard, suggesting that MasterCard can help "bring the world together."

"People can come here to use MasterCard for all kinds of things," she said. The ad conveys that World Cup travelers can rent hotel rooms, rent cars, and buy souvenirs, among other things, with their MasterCards. At the games, they can buy ot dogs, drinks and the silly-looking soccer ball hats seen in the first spot.

"World Cup II" focuses more on the competition. "It has a bigger, very emotional feel," Ms. Bogin said. "It's very upbeat. There's lots of soccer footage."

Familiar Tag Line

In the "smart money" vein, the ads portray MasterCard as the most useful and widely accepted card in the world, Ms. Bogin said. The first ends with the voice-over saying MasterCard's familiar tag line, "It's more than a credit card," while the second just shows those words.

Supplementing the television campaign, MasterCard billboards will be seen next to the soccer fields during games, and a MasterCard logo will be superimposed on the same clock during the ABC broadcasts for about 17.5 minutes each match.

For the past year, MasterCard has sponsored events in the nine host cities to raise awareness about World Cup soccer. It is said to be the world's most popular sporting event but has less of a following here than in other countries.

Ms. Bogin said MasterCard will run local television and prints ads in the nine cities hosting the games. MasterCard has also placed bulletins, banners, painted buses, telephone kiosks, and commuter car cards throughout those cities.

"With the combination of our boardcast media advertising and presence-marketing activities," Ms. Bogin said, "MasterCard's goal is to be the sponsor most associated with the World Cup tournament."

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