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BREAKING NEWS
June 3, 2008
Mr. Bill Returns to Pitch a Debit Card
MasterCard executives have found a new poster boy for the angst-ridden economy: Mr. Bill. The small clay figure that appeared in “Saturday Night Live” short films three decades ago — being dismembered, pulverized and humiliated to his falsetto cries of “Oh, nooooo!” — will be the latest star of MasterCard’s “Priceless” campaign.

He is being revived as a debit-card holder who gets roughed up but keeps on going. The 30-second spot, to start airing next Monday, casts Mr. Bill as an urban professional on his daily routine: Mr. Hands pours hot coffee on him (“coffee: $2”), a personal trainer launches him off a treadmill (“gym: $59/mo.”), and an opened briefcase flips him onto the windshield of a city bus (“briefcase: $120”).

Mr. Bill, rolling with endless punches, just enjoys the ride home: “Making it through the day: priceless.” A voice-over adds, “For whatever comes your way, there’s debit MasterCard.”The spot is meant to tap into the current “unsureness about what’s going to happen next,” said [the] executive vice president and chief creative officer at McCann-Erickson. “We wanted to make him a character who can handle things beyond his control and stay optimistic.”

McCann-Erickson said that Mr. Bill tested well with viewers of all ages. Mr. Bill made his debut on “Saturday Night Live” on NBC in 1976 ”I think it’s the times, like how Charlie Chaplin flourished in the Depression,” said creator Walter Williams .
The New York Times


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Mastercard Taps Into Credit Angst With Mr. Bill Comeback
Category: CULTURAL TRENDS
By: Pete Kendall, June 3, 2008
Apparently when people are feeling more depressed or angry, they will buy products that they associate with those emotions. Marketers sense the change and they are gearing their pitches to appeal to these emotions.
Sociotimes, February 5, 2007

mr. bill
This is the same vein of “anxiety and fear” that was covered here in January 2007. The return of a 1970’s icon fits because that was the last bear market of comparable size. Of course, this is also a bear market of much larger degree, so Mr. Bill’s creator is exactly right when he links his creation's newfound appeal to the mood of the 1930s. The economic set-up for a trend change of very high degree is covered in this month’s issue of The Elliott Wave Financial Forecast.

The fact that Mr. Bill now represents Mastercard is also… well, priceless. What better way to mark the entry to one of history’s great credit busts than through the hapless misadventures of a claymation figure. Also notice, the complete switcheroo in tone. The original Mastercard ads, which first appeared in the second half of the 1990s celebrated feel-good sensations like puppies, baseball and a night out on the town. In the new era, just “making it through the day” is “priceless.”

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