American Express is expanding its longstanding Membership Rewards program points to serve as “Social Currency.”
The big idea: when points are redeemed, they can be applied to a broad range of activities of a social and digital nature — as AmEx demonstrated in a unique partnership with Foursquare at South by Southwest.
Now, all cardholders can redeem points for virtual experiences, too, such as downloading games and movies to a mobile device.
This broadens AmEx's traditional redemption menu for points, such as tickets to events — such as the March 23rd Duran Duran concert at LA's Mayan Theater for which it's sponsoring the YouTube live-stream — or shopping and travel rewards.
Also new: a dedicated tab for Membership Rewards on the American Express Facebook page, so members can share with their social networks and access special weekly offers such a Flip UltraHD Video Camera at 50% off the regular Membership Rewards rate.
“At American Express, we have been connecting consumers with memorable experiences since we first introduced the Membership Rewards program more than 20 years ago,” said John Hayes, Chief Marketing Officer for American Express.
“Now we are bringing that into our increasingly online and connected world by encouraging consumers to think about Membership Rewards points as a form of ‘Social Currency’ that facilitates real-life experiences.”
AmEx’s Rewards Program includes more than 500 brands and 1 million+ rewards.
The integrated marketing campaign kicked off in the Wall Street Journal to be followed by the New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, Vanity Fair, ESPN: The Magazine and The New Yorker as well as broadcast and cable stations NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX, CNN, Bravo and OWN in April.
Digital marketing will include Hulu, Blip.TV, BrightRoll, and as iPadvertising within apps for Vanity Fair, Marie Claire and Esquire.
It’s all an extension of the company’s “Realize the Potential” tagline, which in today’s media and marketing milieu requires…social currency.