F.Y.I.

Mastercard’s agency village campaign now taught in film schools and entering the international film festival circuit

Mastercard’s agency village campaign, ‘TOUCH’, is now being taught in film schools and is entering the international film festival circuit.

The announcement:

Each year, more than 500 million people visit the cinema. While pictures orient the audience and drive the narrative for most, for those with blindness or low vision, it is an entirely different cinematic journey.

With a global commitment to inclusivity by design and doing well by doing good, Mastercard leveraged its reputation as one of the world’s leading multi-sensory brands to launch ‘TOUCH’ – Australia’s first motion picture without pictures.

Developed in partnership with Westpac and brought to life solely through Dolby 7.1 sound and without images or audio descriptions, ‘TOUCH’ was designed to entertain and immerse audiences who are blind or low vision, breaking new ground in championing diversity, equity and inclusion in film.

Directed by award-winning Australian director, Tony Krawitz (‘Into the Night,’ Jewboy,’ ‘The Tall Man’), and Oscar-nominated sound mixer, Wayne Pashley (‘Elvis’, Mad ‘Max: Fury Road,’ ‘The Lego Movie’), this first-of-its-kind film conveyed world-renowned filmmakers, composers, sound engineers, writers, actors and consultants from blind and low vision communities all over the world to rally around a shared mission to create a truly inclusive cinematic experience.

Leading inclusive filmmaking organisation, Bus Stop Films, consulted and supported the production as Mastercard’s inclusion partner. This included securing members of the blind and low vision (BLV) community in roles across every department – giving some their first break in the industry – and facilitating focus groups with the community to ensure their perspective was considered at every stage of the production process.

Creating a multi-sensory campaign to celebrate inclusivity in film

Mastercard’s agency partner Howatson+Company led the film’s production and creative output, including engaging BLV and non-BLV collaborators from around the world. The agency also oversaw the creation of the film poster, film teaser, and cast & crew Q&As. The earned media strategy and delivery was led by Eleven PR, with social strategy and execution handled by We Are Social. Mastercard’s in-house Integrated Marketing and Communications (IMC) team assumed overall responsibility for project management and delivery.

The film premiered at Westpac OpenAir cinema on 13 February 2024 to a sold-out crowd of 600+ moviegoers from the public, partners, and guests of the blind and vision impaired community.

Mastercard partnered with Humanitix to offer an accessible box office experience, while collaborating with Guide Dogs Australia and Bindi Maps to ensure the venue was accessible, and that staff had the necessary training required to accommodate guests.

All ticket proceeds from the premiere went to Blind Citizens Australia, the national organisation representing Australians who are blind or vision impaired.

Julie Nestor, Executive Vice President and Head of Marketing and Communications, Asia Pacific, Mastercard said, “The TOUCH film represents an important step in Mastercard’s multi-sensory journey, embodying its commitment to inclusion. Collaborating closely with key stakeholders, alongside blind and low vision crew members and inclusion partners, Mastercard navigated uncharted territory to create a powerful cinematic experience. The journey continues as Mastercard strives to listen and engage with the communities it serves.”

Gavin Chimes, Executive Creative Director at Howatson+Company, said, “Working with Mastercard and our incredible production partners, we reimagined how a film can be created for everyone, including people who are blind or have low vision. From an original audio-first screenplay to Dolby Atmos sound design to cinematic scores composed by members of the blind and low vision community, we pulled out every stop to create an immersive film unlike any you’ve seen before.”

Deb Deshayes, CEO of Blind Citizens Australia, consultant on the project, said, “It’s crucial to have entertainment that not only considers people who are blind or vision impaired, but also involves them in the whole development process. To have a film like TOUCH is an important step towards building a more inclusive future that will allow 500,000+ Australians to enjoy content like everyone else.”

The campaign attracted the attention of the world’s media, with 150 articles live to date with a combined reach of 72 million. Primetime TV coverage included 9News, ABC News and SBS.

Since its premiere, TOUCH has been taught in films schools including AFTRS, giving future filmmakers a blueprint to make more inclusive productions. Plans are in progress to roll-out TOUCH in cinemas and festivals globally in 2024 and beyond.

Source: Eleven PR

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