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"American Express Blue" Launch Case Study

In an effort to launch "Blue from American Express," members of the LandersMadden team worked to convey the uniqueness of the product to the intended audience -- tech-savvy, entrepreneurial-minded consumers -- while announcing a promotional concert, "Central Park in Blue." The team held a press conference with American Express to present the image of "Blue" as being a part of one's technology-centered lifestyle. In addition to business and banking publications, entertainment, consumer, lifestyle, fashion and design publications were also in attendance, to ensure that "Blue" would reach a "hipper audience."

To guarantee press conference success and "Central Park in Blue" concert headliner Sheryl Crow's participation, we created a concept to preserve Ms. Crow's artistic integrity and incorporate the card design: a one-of-a-kind "Blue" Guitar to be presented by Ms. Crow to the charity of her choice. During the press conference, the guitar was given to Ms. Crow by John Hayes (American Express Executive Vice President of Global Advertising and Brand Management), which she then signed and presented to The Pediatric AIDS Foundation to ultimately be auctioned off to benefit the organization.

The guitar provided a creative vehicle for presenting the card in a manner that would be interesting to photo editors and less commercial than the card alone. Additionally, the image of the guitar reinforced the news of the concert and American Express' charitable donation on behalf of Ms. Crow.

Overall, the campaign achieved widespread positive exposure for the launch of Blue in key national and regional markets including those identified by American Express as befitting of the target audience. Specifically, the launch of "Blue from American Express" generated 158 stories in the month following its introduction on September 8, 1999, in publications reaching over 29 million individuals.

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