The long-running Mastercard “Priceless” campaign follows the trope of putting prices on gifts, all of which are building up to an emotional state. The emotional state, which is assumed to be the culmination of one’s purchases, is labeled as “priceless,” but it’s pretty clear that the commercial equates the consumption of material goods with the emotional state. Therefore, the emotional state does indeed have a specific price tag.


The latest iteration of the “Priceless” series makes explicit the equation of intangible emotional expressions [of happiness] and material goods by showing a woman purchasing smiles, laughter, hugs and other expressions of satisfaction. The intangibles are made material and even buyable! Hmmm…What did that Beatles tune say…”Can’t Buy Me Love”?