Amex debuts 'Booming' ads

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American Express OPEN last month introduced a new ad campaign, “Start Booming,” designed to celebrate small businesses and show how they are helping revive the still-struggling economy. Crispin Porter+Bogusky, Boulder, Colo., developed the campaign, which includes TV, print and online.

“At American Express OPEN, our mission is to help small businesses do more business,” said Julie Fajgenbaum, VP of American Express OPEN. “It is what everyone here at OPEN is doing. It's in every communication, and every product is meant to serve this purpose.”

“Start Booming” is being rolled out in three phases.

“The first layer is to introduce the phrase "Start booming,' which demonstrates how small business as a sector is innovating and changing, given the economy we've been in.”

The campaign debuted July 12 with a TV spot called “Reveille,” which shows owners of a variety of small businesses—including farms, retail stores and restaurants—opening up for the day as “Reveille” plays in the background. Voiceover says, “Reviving the economy means reinventing the way we do business. Here's to the owners showing us the way.” The spot ends with the headline “Start Booming” and drives viewers to a microsite at

The first phase of the campaign also includes print ads in newspapers such as the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Washington Post, featuring the headline “Start Booming.”

"'Start booming' is a rallying cry for all of us,” said Alexander Chang, VP-U.S. advertising for American Express Co.

“Despite the turbulence of the past two years, there is still a sense of optimism among small-business owners. This optimism fuels them to persevere, innovate and find new ways to be successful. It's this positive, optimistic, forward-looking mindset that defines "Booming.' And through the campaign, we hope to inspire others to "Start Booming.' ”

Chang said American Express chose “Reveille” because it's the song the U.S. Army uses to start the day. “The song, and the spot, is meant to signal the beginning of the revitalization of the economy. And it's recognition of small-business owners for leading the way. We produced this version of "Reveille' because we wanted something that was more upbeat and positive. We believe it's time to look forward to better days ahead.”

The second phase of the campaign will be launched this month and will include additional TV spots and print ads in magazines and trade journals featuring more specific stories of small-business owners.

“Following "Reveille,' we're going to showcase small-business customers and what they're doing to be successful,” Chang said. “This will range from their business philosophy, to core values, to how they use our products.”

The third phase, which will be rolled out late this month, will feature more product-focused advertising about the features and benefits of OPEN cards, Fajgenbaum said.

The campaign also uses social media, such as stories shared by businesses on, American Express OPEN's online community of small-business owners and “Twitterviews” (interviews with small-business owners featured on Twitter).

On, American Express introduced a new feature called “Share Your Story,” where business owners can showcase examples of how they are succeeding in today's economy and offer tips to other small businesses.

“This provides great exposure for business owners and lets business owners learn from each other,” Fajgenbaum said. “There will be more pieces like that coming—more how-to tips from business owners.”

Since its relaunch last year, has grown its number of monthly unique visitors by more than 350%, and it now has more than 11,000 business owners signed up on Connectodex, an online community that lets business owners set up profiles and connect with each other.

Another new feature on the site is OPEN Forum Pulse, which helps small-business owners connect with other users' Twitter accounts and aggregates Twitter content by industry.

OPEN Forum Pulse currently has more than 1,000 participating businesses, with a total Twitter following of 3.9 million users.

Fajgenbaum said American Express OPEN will be making even more use of social media in the coming months, such as pushing out more content on Twitter and other channels.

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