Campaign journey: AmEx envisions small business owners in fancy new push


Campaign Trail is our analysis of some of the best and worst new creative endeavors in the world of marketing. See past columns in the archives here.

New national campaign for American Express playfully illustrates the benefits business owners receive when they use the credit card as they grow. For some, the growth could come in the form of a major pivot, depicted in an ad as a bike shop smoothly transforming into a modern cycling studio. In a second clip, a barber shop launches a viral hairstyle, while another shows a pet store transforming into a candle shop with vegan shampoos for dogs.

The four spots showcasing store owners embracing change to scale their businesses are the latest from AmEx’s larger business-to-business (B2B) platform, “Built for Business,” targeting owners of small and medium-sized businesses. To appeal to this audience as remote working continues to be a priority in the pandemic, the financial services brand has created pop-up stations designed for business owners on the go, converting billboards and advertisements on benches in offices and mobile charging ports.

The installation – in Madison Square Park in New York City until today (September 24) – represents a physical manifestation of how AmEx cards are designed for small businesses, according to Jessica Ling, senior vice president of marketing Global B2B.

“We’re taking a creative new approach to reaching small and medium-sized business owners that aligns with our latest national spots – it’s fun, daring, fast-paced and upbeat,” Ling said. “We had fun creating these videos and wanted that energy and excitement to come to the screen for the business owners we are speaking with through this campaign.”

A touch of fantasy

AmEx is putting experience at the center of its latest ‘Built for Business’ phase, transforming static ads into desks, park benches into workspaces with charging stations, and assembling phone booths for visitors to use. of the park can take private calls. The pop-up installation, developed with Dentsu Mcgarrybowen agency will hit Chicago and Austin, Texas, in the coming weeks.

“We wanted to create something that would stand out from the crowd in the B2B advertising world. We show the benefits of using a business card, but in a fun, bold, quick and whimsical way,” Ling said.

While activations take place in cities with heavy foot traffic, Ling says the brand has taken COVID-19 safety precautions by organizing activation outdoors and implementing high cleaning protocols.

The campaign, which promotes how AmEx’s card line offers business-focused rewards, will run through the end of 2021 and include purchases on streaming TV, digital audio and social media. AmEx also runs local ads featuring small business owners in cities across the country, including Philadelphia, Denver, Las Vegas, Nashville, and Seattle. These advertisements will run on outdoor display (OOH), local television and radio stations.

“Office hours” for business owners

Prior to the launch of the park’s pop-ups and national and local advertising campaigns, AmEx launched a series of video ads in July called “Business Card Chronicles” within its larger brand platform “Built for Business”. Three longer spots in the series told stories of small business owners across the country who experienced unexpected pivotal points during the pandemic.

The videos, produced by Brian Beletic, included “The crane, “”The laptop” and “The rabbit“, which depicts a veterinarian needing help amid a rush of pet adoptions during the pandemic.

A pop-up phone booth in Madison Square Park in New York City.

Authorization granted by American Express

Beyond marketing to small business owners and preaching the benefits of AmEx’s business cards, the financial services company has developed a series of initiatives to help these clients meet the challenges fueled by the difficult year. .

AmEx’s online business class resources combine educational content with access to financial support. Dubbed the “next chapter” of the financial services firm in its support for merchants, the approach marks a genuine way to connect with small business owners. AmEx has developed around 500 new resources for the small business community since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, including over 225 articles and 30 episodes in a video series, titled “Office hours”, on Instagram Live, showing how entrepreneurs like Drybar’s Alli Webb and Resy’s co-founder Ben Leventhal are navigating the pandemic.

“After a difficult year for small business owners, we wanted to redouble our efforts to meet their needs,” Ling said. “It includes how we think about our marketing strategy. With this intention, we have created this campaign to focus on [SMBs] that our business cards are specifically ‘designed for business’, with their needs in mind. “

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