Commended - Emergency/Crisis Communication
Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA)
NSW State Awards for Excellence 2006
MasterCard Data Security Breach
Client: MasterCard International

In June 2005 a story broke on the international wires that a US-based third party processor of payment systems for merchants had its payments database breached, compromising the credit card details of 45 million people around the world. This story followed a proactive media release from MasterCard International (US) and as a result, was MasterCard focused.

Louise was responsible for driving MasterCard’s response in Australia from a crisis centre she established that responded to media enquiries 16 hours a day over a five day period. Her goal was to ensure MasterCard’s reputation was not compromised. This was successfully achieved through fulfilling the primary measurable objectives of (a) ensuring media coverage included all types of credit card brands, not just MasterCard; (b) ensuring the media understood and correctly reported on the issue and (c) reassuring cardholders they would not be liable for any fraudulent activity that may occur.

MasterCard’s reputation remained intact by the end of the campaign, despite attempts by industry players and politicians to further draw out and ‘scandalise’ the story. From being initially wholly MasterCard focused, the coverage gradually included all credit card brands, reassured cardholders about their lack of liability for any fraudulent activity and informed all audiences on the actions being taken at every step of the way.