American Express turns billboards into work stations in new campaign

The financial services brands touts small business credit cards with national and local ads

Published On
Sep 24, 2021

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American Express is converting billboards and bench ads into work stations for a new campaign plugging its business credit cards. The pop-up installations in New York City, Chicago, and Austin, Texas are part of the brand’s “Built for Business '' campaign targeting small and mid-size business owners. 

The financial services corporation is touting its business cards as providing business-centric rewards and savings with no pre-set spending limits.

The experiential installation developed in partnership with Dentsu Mcgarrybowen will run for a limited time starting this week. It includes billboards that turn into desks, park benches with charging stations, and phone booths that can be used for private business phone calls. They went up in New York City’s Madison Square Park on Wednesday and will run through Friday.  Pioneer Court in Chicago will run the activation from Sept. 28–30, while and Republic Square in Austin will host the activation from Oct. 5-7. 

“Small business owners have gone through some challenging times recently, so we wanted to showcase their ingenuity and resilience while demonstrating how our business cards are in fact built specifically for business,” says Jessica Ling,  senior VP for global B2B marketing at American Express. “Business Cards allow business owners to separate their work purchases from personal ones, more easily track and report for business tax purposes, keep business expenses off a personal credit report and more, all to make running a business a little bit easier.” 

While the activation will take place in cities with high foot traffic, Ling says the brand has taken COVID safety precautions by choosing to do the activation outdoors and elevated cleaning protocols are said to be in place. 

The campaign, which will run through the end of the year, also includes buys on streaming TV, digital audio and social media platforms. The effort includes national and local marketing.  Spots feature business owners going through revolutionary change to grow their businesses in new ways.

A national campaign created by R/GA directed by Jake Dypka includes four ads that playfully illustrate the benefits business owners receive when using the pocket-sized business card as they grow and pivot their businesses.   

One spot features the revamping of a pet supply store with the help from the owner’s gold Amex card. Vegan shampoo is added to the shelves, a laptop replaces an old-school desktop and more. Another video shows a bike shop that quickly transitions into a more modern cycling studio. The bike riders and owners are seen enjoying their evolved workout. 

“As our business customers’ needs evolve, we constantly explore adding new benefits and features to our cards to meet those changing needs,” says Ling. 

The brand is also running a campaign called “Amex Business Card Chronicles” that includes personalized ads that target small business owners. The local ads will run in Philadelphia, Denver, Las Vegas, Seattle, Nashville, Tennessee; and Austin, Texas on local TV and radio stations, as well as OOH.