American Express Promo, Case study SMALL BUSINESS GETS AN OFFICIAL DAY by Crispin Porter + Bogusky Boulder, Digitas Chicago, M Booth & Associates

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Industry Banking & Financial Services, Credit Cards
Media Promo & PR, Case study
Market United States
Agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky Boulder
Associate Creative Director Jens Mcnaughton, Jesse Suchmann
Creative Director Allen Richardson, Tom Miller, Lewis Mcvey
Art Director Mike Blanch, Daniel Burke, Kristen Giuliano, Allyson Paisley, Laura Potsic, Miao Wang, Josh Gross
Copywriter Adrian Alexander, Adrian Dickerson, Kelly Mccormick, Kimberly Samskin-Barger
Agency Digitas Chicago
Associate Creative Director Jenny Awasano
Executive Creative Director Mark D. Taylor
Creative Director Michael Tagle, Darci Manley
Art Director Rochelle Rais, Kim Ann Baskinger
Copywriter Ashley Berndt
Agency M Booth & Associates
Released November 2011

Credits & Description

Category: Best Use of Social Media
Chief Creative Officer: Lincoln Bjorkman/Rob Reilly/Jeff Benjamin (Digitas & CP+B)
EVP Creative Director: Matt D’Ercole (Digitas)
Interactive Creative Director: Dan Ligon (CP+B)
SVP Creative Director: Atit Shah (Digitas)
Executive Creative Director: Mark Taylor (CP+B)
Creative Director: Allen Richardson/Tom Miller/Lewis McVey/Michael Tagle/Darci Manley (CP+B and Digitas)
Associate Creative Director: Jens McNaughton/Jesse Suchmann/Jenny Awasano (CP+B and Digitas)
Art Director: Mike Blanch/Laura Potsic/Daniel Burke/Josh Gross/Rochelle Rais/Kim Baskinger/Miao Wang/Kristen Giuliano/Allyson Paisley (CP+B and Digitas)
Copywriter: Adrian Alexander/Kelly McCormick/Kimberly Samskin-Barger/Adrian Dickerson/Ashley Berndt (CP+B and Digitas)
Director/Cognitive Anthropology: Kaylin Goldstein/Andrew Teagle (CP+B)
SVP Marketing: Mark Kiernan (Digitas)
VP Director, Marketing: Roger Box (Digitas)
Associate Director, Marketing: Alex Jacobs (Digitas)
VP Group Director, Media: Chris Kindt (Digitas)
VP Director, Media: Wade Rifkin (Digitas)
Managing Director: Robert Rakowitz (MindShare)
Associate Media Director: Seth Spievogel (MindShare)
Media Manager: Leela Ramdeen (MindShare)
SVP: Matt Hantz (M Booth)
Principal: Shaunn D’Alessandro (AIFOS)
Media placement: Consumer PR - NY Daily News - 10 October 2011
Media placement: Consumer PR - Huffington Post - 27 October 2011
Media placement: Consumer PR - USA Today - 28 October 2011
Media placement: Consumer PR - - 13 November 2011
Media placement: Consumer PR - Forbes Magazine - 16 November 2011
Media placement: Consumer PR - The Washington Post - 19 November 2011
Media placement: Consumer PR - - 19 November 2011
Media placement: Consumer PR - New York Times - 20 November 2011
Media placement: Consumer PR - Country Living Magazine - November 2011
Media placement: Consumer PR - Chicago Now - 20 November 2011

Summary of the Campaign
In 2010, American Express created Small Business Saturday, a new shopping day between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, to support small businesses nationwide. The objective behind Small Business Saturday was to inspire and encourage consumer support of independently owned businesses.

In 2011, American Express took the holiday from a grassroots campaign to an unprecedented, national movement. With a rallying cry to ‘shop small’, the movement supported local, independently owned businesses hit hardest by recession and answered a national calling to create jobs, preserve neighborhoods and fuel local economies.

American Express took Main St. mainstream with a multi-touch, 360 degree campaign that included a sophisticated social media strategy that used simple, shareable and powerful social actions, to activate small business owners, consumers, media platforms, and even local and national governments. Users could rally friends, gush about their favourite businesses and spend 'shop small' credits. Small business owners received marketing tools, advice and incentives to help them own the day.

The effort triggered a national response bigger than we could have ever anticipated. Facebook 'likes' and public awareness doubled compared to last year. President Obama shopped. The US Senate declared Nov 26, 2011 as Small Business Saturday. And most importantly, 103m people shopped on the day with card member transactions up 23% at small businesses. Additionally, Small Business Saturday improved American Express’ image in the public arena through the creation of this special day supporting small businesses that are the fabric of America. It was a major success on all fronts, and the movement was cemented in American culture.

The Situation
Recognising that the recession was taking a toll on small business and the communities they serve, American Express Open wanted a way to amplify its support for small business owners. With the holiday shopping season approaching - a time that can make or break a business - Open needed something big to stand out against the mega-stores and mega-sales of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. In 2011, American Express set out to make Small Business Saturday a permanent fixture on the American shopping calendar.

The Goal
The goal of the campaign was to promote mass public awareness of the day, and drive audience participation to Shop Small. The target audience was small business owners and 18+ consumers, regardless of their status as AMEX card members or non-card members. AMEX sought to position the audience, not the brand, as the real advocates behind the Shop Small movement. This was accomplished by running both broad-reach social media to fuel awareness coupled with social-based creative executions that allowed the audience to comment, engage and share with friends. Social media was used to amplify these conversations to the masses across Twitter and Facebook.

The Strategy
Our Strategy: Scale Social Impressions

There was an opportunity to tap into consumer’s small business support sentiment:
• 90% of people would pledge to spend locally

To establish this as a tradition, we needed to socially activate all audiences to drive word-of-mouth buzz:
• Social impressions are 2x more effective in building awareness and 4x more effective in driving purchase intent.
To make Small Business Saturday credible and permanent in the holiday shopping season, we needed the marketing to come from the people, not the brand. American Express created a rallying cry and provided each audience with unique activations, giving them the reason and means to spread the word via social actions. Small business owners and consumers then took the tools and promotions and ran with them, resulting in major sound waves across multiple social platforms. American Express established a hub for the movement, but its participants are what made it a PR success.

Major social media placements, like Facebook target blocks and Twitter promoted trends, were bought leading up to the day to spark mass awareness. Once consumers began to comment on the movement, Facebook-sponsored stories to friend’s networks helped to broadcast the message.

AMEX also partnered with celebrity influencers who tweeted to followers on behalf of the movement. Celebrity tweets were incorporated into RM banner executions to capture audiences and allow them to tweet replies directly through the banner.

To engage small business owners, AMEX partnered with Facebook to provide participating business owners with tools to promote their business and spread the word about the day online and off, and with free geo-targeted Facebook advertising to help them expand their customer reach via social media. AMEX then literally put small businesses on the map by creating a permanent directory on Facebook, empowering consumers to 'like' local businesses individually. Consumers who registered their AMEX card on Facebook received $25 credit to spend at a small business on Small Business Saturday.

Documented Results
• The Small Business Saturday Facebook community doubled to over 2.7m fans from its record setting year 1 fan count
• Over 500,000 small business owners leveraged the promotional tools American Express provided online and off to promote their business and spread the word about the day
• 3 times on November 26, #SmallBusinessSaturday became a national organic trending topic on Twitter
• The holiday generated over 1.5bn earned press impressions
• It measured a 350% increase in social buzz from 2010
• Public awareness nearly doubled to 65% from 37% in 2010
• 103m Americans shopped on Small Business Saturday, including President Obama and his daughters
• American Express saw card member transactions increase 23% at small business merchants on the day
• The U.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution in support of Small Business Saturday
• Elected officials in all 50 states and Washington D.C. championed Small Business Saturday – including President Obama