Exclusive: Gwen Stefani Follows Justin Timberlake’s Lead to Team Up With Mastercard

The singer follows Justin Timberlake’s lead in forging a multifaceted deal with the company.

Gwen Stefani is taking her cues from Justin Timberlake. Like JT in 2013, her last solo album was released in 2006 (The Sweet Escape), so anticipation for its follow-up (due in early 2015) and accompanying tour is high. Along for the ride: MasterCard, whose Priceless Surprises program Timberlake helped co-found as part of a multiyear partnership inked with the company in 2013.

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Beginning Dec. 8, Stefani will be the new face for the campaign and appear in a TV commercial  giving out everything from a handbag to concert tickets. The partnership tees up a busy 2015 for Stefani and MasterCard that will include live events, support of her next solo album and upcoming projects with No Doubt, her first tour since 2007 and “Priceless Surprises” in markets around the world. Timberlake, for example, starred in a 2014 Grammy spot in which he showed up unannounced on a fan’s doorstep, and participated in other surprises in Canada, Turkey and Australia, among other markets.

“Gwen appeals not just to youngsters but to an older generation” says Raja Rajamannar, chief marketing officer for MasterCard Worldwide. “She has a very strong presence that we think will advance our global position.” Adds Joe Dimuro, president of the Frukt North America agency: “Gwen does well in several international territories, particularly Asia Pacific, and there’s a high degree of notoriety and equity in her brand. Over the next six months, you’ll see another surge in popularity.”

This article first appeared in the Dec. 13 issue of Billboard.


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