MasterCard Promotes Equality With ‘Restroom for All’
“There are some things money can’t buy,” according to the MasterCard slogan, and that includes equality for all. The sentiment is a core part of its ethos, prompting the brand to take on one of the year’s biggest hot-button issues: gender equality. With the passing of the gender-neutral bathroom bills in some states and its rejection in others, MasterCard brought its #AcceptanceMatters message to life in the heart of the battleground: public restrooms.
Armed with a “pride computer,” MasterCard launched its Restroom for All campaign to demonstrate its support for gender equality and to drive conversation around what it means to be human. The centerpiece of the experience? A sensor that unlocked the restroom by simply detecting a human heartbeat. The brand custom-built its pride computer from scratch, using a microcontroller with pulse and light sensors connected to the inputs and scores of LED lights on the outputs. Meanwhile, custom software running on the server listened for “lock” and “unlock” requests from the computer. When the unlock request was received, the door to the restroom automatically opened. Participants waved their hand over the light sensor, thereby blocking light and activating the pulse sensor. After touching a palm to the sensor, the technology read the participant’s heart rate while the LEDs flashed in sync with the rhythm of its beat. The door then unlocked itself wirelessly.
MasterCard encouraged visitors to take the infamous bathroom mirror selfie by providing a heart-shaped mirror tagged with #AcceptanceMatters. The key to the campaign, using one’s heartbeat to unlock the experience, aligned with the message MasterCard sought to spread—that we are all human, regardless of gender identity—and that prejudice must be flushed.