American Express Is Making Smart Branded Content Millennials Will Love
For the first time, American Express is creating custom marketing and advertising content that reads as editorial. Here’s a roundup of their new campaigns with Bustle, Buzzfeed, and Vox.
American Express is joining the custom branded content game, and their foray into the space looks promising.
Rather than “shouting” at the mass market as they have since time immemorial, AmEx is launching smaller, focused campaigns with the help of young, millennial-focused platforms Buzzfeed, Vox, and Bustle, according to Digiday.
Seeking to have a meaningful impact with each concept, the credit card company is helping produce branded partnerships that provide real value to the millennial customers they want to reach to promote their “Pay It Plan It” feature.
We’ve taken notice of the rise of smart, engaging branded content of late, such as the branded podcasts that function as advertisements that people actually want to hear. AmEx clearly sees the trend of needing to create content that benefits the reader, viewer, listener, etc., and wants to deliver that content to places they know millennials will be going.
AmEx is teaming up with Buzzfeed in two areas: First, they’ll be the exclusive launch partner of the new Buzzfeed Reviews. They’ll also be the first sponsor of Buzzfeed Tasty’s “Friend in Town” show, the platform’s stab at the kind of tourism-and-food-and-experiences show in the vein of “No Reservations” and other travelogue shows.
With Vox, AmEx will sponsor The Goods by Vox, which includes 12 editorial videos and a newsletter, as well as Explainer videos (a format Vox has become famous for) about wise spending. They’ll also sponsor Eater’s Kitchen Gadget Test Show, with an emphasis on seeing which devices are worth the price.
For Bustle, AmEx will have custom illustrated articles with advice on making sound financial decisions, to be coupled with digital banner ads.
What are the main takeaways here?
Easy integration is key
The “four main passion areas” of AmEx card members are reportedly travel, entertainment, home, and tech. The content discussed above, which focuses on almost these exact spaces, are clear and obvious integrations for the brand and the product, which will help it from feeling forced or awkward.
This content could live without AmEx
If the AmEx logo and mentions of the brand were removed from almost all of these forms of content, they would still be useful and interesting to consumers. That’s by design: The videos, articles, and newsletters are just as informative and entertaining as non-branded content, but with a little extra emphasis on a specific tool (in this case, Pay It Plan It) to help things along.
This is just the beginning
According to Terryn Lance of AmEx, who spoke to Digiday, custom content will be the focus for AmEx going forward. Brands are getting smarter about where and how to meet the customers they’re trying to reach—so expect more of your content to feature brands cozied up to editorial in increasingly inventive ways.
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