American Express Promo, Case study GLEE INSPIRES OTHERS by Ogilvy & Mather New York

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Industry Banking
Media Promo & PR, Case study
Market United States
Agency Ogilvy & Mather New York
Released September 2010

Credits & Description

Category: Best Use of Branded Content
Date of First Appearance: Sep 1 2010
Entrant Company: MINDSHARE, New York, USA
Chief Marketing Officer: John Hayes (AMERICAN EXPRESS)
Senior Vice President of Marketing, Advertising & Media: Marie Devlin (AMERICAN EXPRESS)
Vice President of Global Media, Content & Community: Nancy Smith (AMERICAN EXPRESS)
Vice President of Global Media, Content Development & Sponsorship Marketing: Lou Paskalis (AMERICAN EXPRESS)
Director of US Media & Sponsorships: Rachel Chan (AMERICAN EXPRESS)
Vice President of Advertising: Deborah Curtis (AMERICAN EXPRESS)
Director of Advertising: Ann Mecca (AMERICAN EXPRESS)
Director of Social Media: Stacy Gratz (AMERICAN EXPRESS)
Manager of Advertising: Elizabeth O’Pray (AMERICAN EXPRESS)
Manager of Corporate Affairs & Communications: Caitlin Lowie (AMERICAN EXPRESS)
Exchange Leadership: Shari Cohen (MINDSHARE)
Managing Director of Exchange: Jon Lefferts (MINDSHARE)
Associate Director of Exchange: Laurie Gutherman (MINDSHARE)
Managing Director of Client Leadership: Courtney Burke (MINDSHARE)
Managing Director of Communications Planning: Stacy Minero (MINDSHARE)
Managing Director of Global Account Leader: John Leeman (MINDSHARE)
Executive Marketing Director: Christine Shoaf (OGILVY)
Program Manager: Andrew Berg (OGILVY)
Vice President/ Director of Media: John Simpson (DIGITAS)
Media placement: Television - FOX Primetime - Wed, 9 September 2010
Media placement: Cinema – 1 :60 Video - Screenvision National Cinemas - Friday, 3 September 2010
Media placement: Facebook - Facebook - Wed, 1 September 2010
Media placement: Twitter - Twitter - Wed, 1 September 2010
Media placement: Microsite - - Monday, 6 September 2010
Media placement: PR - Over 1500+ Press Contacts - Wed, 1 September 2010
Media placement: Experiential Event - Fox Lot – LA Volunteer - Wed, 8 December 2010
Media placement: Print Ads - People, EW, Time Magazine - Week of 10 September 2010
Media placement: American Express - Internal Channels - Wed, 1 September 2010

Insights, Strategy & the Idea
Our challenge was to break through the clutter of cause marketing. We needed to encourage people to get involved and make a difference in their community by participating in Members Project from AMERICAN EXPRESS and make them feel more positively about AMERICAN EXPRESS as a result.

To overcome this challenge and achieve this goal we took a very different approach.

We made the AMERICAN EXPRESS cause surprising and fun and showed that even the smallest steps could make a difference. We did this by creating an innovative and highly engaging partnership with FOX’s hit TV show, Glee. Members Project and GLEE share common themes including finding inspiration by working together, harnessing the power of the collective and taking individual actions to do something good.

Creative Execution
Since Members Project inspires people to give back to communities by voting, donating, or volunteering for charitable organizations we decided to make people want to get involved by enabling them to be a part of this hot show.

Our strategy was to create a variety of creative pieces in the voice of Glee that would be relevant and enjoyed by the fans of the show. We featured the show’s characters in a variety of short comedy films, online quizzes and social media channels including the AMERICAN EXPRESS and Glee Facebook pages, as well as public relations and a live event with the cast. Each experience supported Members Project’s key messages.

We accomplished this by turning the usual cynicism on its head and encouraging people to take the first step in volunteering. We also created a program that gave the winners an opportunity to lead by example.

Results and Effectiveness
Over 100,000 sweepstakes entries for opportunity to join Glee cast to volunteer time with underprivileged children (10 winners).
Earned press coverage worth US$4.2 million .
51% of Glee viewers are now aware of Members Project versus 19% non-viewers.
AMERICAN EXPRESS brand likeability increased 18%. Perceptions of brand responsibility increased nearly 20%.
Over 200 million earned media impressions.
Nearly 9 million visits to GLEE and AMERICAN EXPRESS Facebook pages.
Members Project Facebook fans grew from 100,000 to 514,000.
Volunteer searches on Members Project website increased 34%.

Now a lot more people are giving back and engaged with Members Project.