AmEx is touting Sync -- a service that translates social-media activity into savings for cardholders -- in TV commercials featuring comedian Aziz Ansari. The spots highlight the "Link Like Love" feature on Facebook, which offers discounts based on what users of the network like.
The TV blitz followed Sync's high-profile debut at the South by Southwest Interactive festival in Austin, Texas, this past March. While the event has catapulted such startups as Twitter and Foursquare into popularity, some argue that AmEx stole the show this year when it introduced Sync paperless coupons, which are loaded onto credit cards when cardholders tweet certain hashtags.
AmEx's first foray into this kind of social-media tool was a partnership with Foursquare that let cardholders sync accounts to the mobile app to save money at Austin-area businesses when they checked in during the 2011 SXSW. AmEx then opened the Foursquare program to small businesses in other markets to help attract new customers with location-based offers.
Social media is also a cornerstone in AmEx's Small Business Saturday, the 2-year-old event that encourages people to shop at local businesses on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. And shop they do, thanks in part to AmEx's marketing clout. The company spent more than $2.2 billion on advertising in 2010, according to the Ad Age DataCenter.
Ad Age: Why has social media been so central to AmEx's marketing recently?
Mr. Hayes: Social platforms do so much more than communicate. If you go back through our marketing over the last couple of decades, we've built a lot of things that create experiences for people. Our belief is that marketing really needs to be more than just communication. With Twitter, it was about an experience: syncing your card, tweeting and saving money. On Facebook, "Link Like Love" is about experiences based on your "likes." Read the rest here