American Express touts card membership with 1st global campaign since 2018

Dive Brief:

  • American Express launched its first major global brand campaign in three years to highlight the benefits of being a card member. The brand’s “Don’t Live Life Without It” effort includes a series of 15-second spots on TV, connected TV (CTV), online video, social media and podcasts, per details emailed to Marketing Dive.
  • Each 15-second spot shows a different American Express benefit, marking a departure from the company’s past creative approach. The campaign includes pause ads with a QR code that viewers can scan with a smartphone camera to visit a landing page that highlights benefits such as exclusive access to concerts and dining experiences.
  • American Express for the first time will use an addressable advertising technology called automated content recognition (ACR) to track when a viewer sees an ad on CTV or online video device, and subsequently serve a different ad to highlight another card benefit. Its TV ads will appear in programming ranging from the “Today” show to Billboard Music Awards, and during the NBA Playoffs and Finals, according to the company.

Dive Insight:

American Express’s global ad campaign, which launches in the U.S., U.K. and Japan, is notable for its creative approach, interactive features and use of the latest viewership tracking technologies to personalize its messaging. Its series of 15-second spots takes a humorous approach to highlight member benefits such as its 24/7 Personal Assistance service that helps with special requests for dining, travel and other services, its Plan It feature for customized payment plans and fraud protection. The goal is to highlight the concept of membership rather than the convenience of making cashless payments with an American Express card.

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The company also seeks to drive a direct response from mobile consumers with QR codes in video ads that can be paused. The interactive feature can transform the awareness that it generates with its cross-platform videos into a follow-up activity that helps to identify consumers that are most likely to apply for an American Express card. The campaign is another sign that QR codes, which went through a cycle of being overhyped and a subsequent backlash, continue to gain acceptance in advertising. Brands such as Burger King, Coors and Mtn Dew have included QR codes in recent campaigns to engage consumers on their smartphones.

American Express’s latest campaign also is notable for adopting ACR technology that helps to track which ads viewers see on a connected device, such as a smart TV. People who have opted in to ACR tracking share data about their viewing habits across cable and broadcast TV, streaming services and DVD players to provide a more complete picture of their media consumption. The data is valuable to marketers that seek to target advertising to individual households, personalize the creative and avoid overexposing viewers to the same commercials. American Express can use the technology to track which ads were served to different households, and customize them to show different membership benefits.

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