Just like any organization with charity at its core, WikiLeaks needs money to operate.
And, as exclusively revealed by CNET, MasterCard was at the forefront of making donations a little more cumbersome by withdrawing its own very useful service to that cause.
So what could WikiLeaks do but make an ad that encourages the charitable to find other ways to donate? Oh, and as a touching tweak to the nose of the official financial industry, WikiLeaks decided to use MasterCard's famous "Priceless" campaign as its inspiration.
It seems, at least according to WikiLeaks' calculations, that MasterCard (together with Visa and PayPal, who joined in the financial blockade) has cost it about $15 million in donations.
And WikiLeaks claims it is spending millions of dollars battling various lawsuits and ensuring that its jefe, Julian Assange, can endure his home confinement in as homely a way as possible. It's also dedicating, if I understand the video correctly, $5,000 to buying extremely secure iPhones.
Assange himself makes a cameo appearance in this video, calmly leaning over his MacBook Pro as the voice explains that there is something, well, priceless about seeing the world change as a result of your work.
There will be those who will worry that the graphic devices used in this video are a little close to those of MasterCard, especially as the voice-over declares: "There are some people who don't like change. For everyone else, there's WikiLeaks."
It would be a depth of irony if the company decided to add to WikiLeaks' legal costs by suing the organization for some sort of infringement.
However, creative professionals will be most interested in seeing just how much money this video might raise. Everyone is being bullied into ROI measurements these days, and it will be fascinating to see whether this attempt at humor might generate significant funds.
Perhaps, with such funds in hand, WikiLeaks will be able to reveal just what credit card companies do with all the money they collect from high interest charges. That, for some, might be the sheer definition of pricelessness.
However, WikiLeaks itself might need to clarify what, exactly, it's doing with donations. The Atlantic reported earlier this week that information on the WikiLeaks site about how to contribute despite the actions of MasterCard, Visa, and PayPal created some confusion. Do the donated funds go directly toward WikiLeaks' normal activities? Or do they drift toward a fund set up for Julian Assange's legal defense against rape charges--which some might see as synonymous with the more general WikiLeaks cause, and others might not.
What seems clear is that the WikiLeaks Defense Fund doesn't directly support WikiLeaks' activities.
As of this writing, when one goes to the WikiLeaks site and clicks the "Donate" button, the site states only that "There are different ways to donate to the WikiLeaks Defense Fund and WikiLeaks the organization." There seems to be no information on how donors can specify where they want their money to go.
Caveat donor, I suppose.