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Special Project

Special Project
From the 11th Annual Shorty Awards

Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth - Masters of Scale

Entered in Social Good Campaign


In 2018, the Center for Inclusive Growth, the philanthropic hub of Mastercard, launched a unique partnership with Masters of Scale, a podcast hosted by LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman. The objective was to introduce the audience to the Center's mission and crowdsource global, scalable ideas and/or solutions to help solve issues around inclusive growth and financial inclusion. We did this by embedding an unconventional "call to partner" inside each 3-act story, inspiring listeners behind influential companies to reach out directly to the Center.

Strategy and Execution

Aside from its compelling content, Masters of Scale is known for its signature three-act ads in which a sponsor's messaging, usually narrated as a story, is delivered at key intervals during each episode. The Center sponsored the first six episodes of Season 3. As part of this sponsorship, the Center shared its own stories of scale, highlighting how programs and partnerships are successfully bringing more individuals and micro-merchants into the formal economy. Through each story, the Center sought to emphasize Mastercard's commitment to doing well by doing good while inspiring social sector and startup leaders into sharing their ideas in hopes of building partnerships to achieve transformative, social impact at scale.

We broke with the traditional paradigm of audio ad CTAs ("Visit our website") by establishing a direct connection for listeners with the Center through a simple, direct email address and executed the program in such a way that listeners would give the "ads" unusually high attention on Twitter and in Apple Podcast reviews.

Our stories were so compelling listeners stated our ads were "10x better than any other podcast's", "custom and genuine", and "Yes, I skipped back to listen...TO AN AD!"

Stories included, "The Mystery of the Missing Birth Certificate": how one billion people around the world lack legal identification, often blocking them from access to financial services and the larger connected world. "The Dilemma of the Duka Shop": how Mastercard and Unilever leveraged transaction history to help shop owners in Kenya move from a cash-based system to a more formalized way of doing business with new opportunities for obtaining credit. "The Invention of Doorstep Banking": how Mann Deshi, a rural bank in India, found a new way to give women access to banking services and more financial control. "How to Bank in a Banking Desert": how Mastercard turned a banking desert into a wellspring of digital transactions and more.


Beyond the fact that we had over 2+ million downloads and 6.4+ million ad impressions, our unique call to action prompted over 150+ direct email correspondences with top leadership in the following sectors: finance, fintech, AI, education, healthcare and a variety of other social impact start-ups from 22+ countries around the world.

Our listen through rates ranged from a low of 72% to a high of 95% with a global reach of over 215+ different countries - 60% US v. 40% International. The overall awareness of the Center and our mission has grown considerably by connecting with this audience. So much so, we are partnering with Masters of Scale Season 4 for a new "Mastercard Impact Challenge" where we will be crowdsourcing ideas on the Center's new objectives for maximum, scalable, social impact.


Entrant Company / Organization Name

Wait What Inc. + Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth


Entry Credits