Amex takes experiential program to the next level

New 'Invites' brand broadens access to entertainment experiences

American Express has launched a new global brand, “American Express Invites,” which provides card members access to concerts, festivals, film previews, dining offers and theatre productions.

The company’s 25-year-old “Front of the Line” program, which was developed in Canada and gives customers advanced ticket access, will continue under the Invites umbrella.

The idea behind Invites is to provide customers with experiences that go well beyond getting tickets to a show. “We’re looking at how can we meet our card members’ interests across a number of different fronts… and provide them with access to the things that they’re passionate about,” said David Barnes, VP of marketing and communications at Amex Canada.

Platinum and Centurion cardholders, for instance, could participate in a “Momofuku Experience and Taste of Toronto.” The event included a five-course meal at Momofuku with paired drinks and included a signed copy of the Momofuku cookbook by restaurant owner and chef David Chang and food writer Peter Meehan. The package also included VIP ticket for Taste of Toronto and a meet-and-greet with Meehan.

Barnes said Amex “set the standard” for experiential marketing, which more and more brands are getting involved in these days. “I like to think we’re still the best at it and it’s really about deepening that relationship with the customer,” he said. “[We want] our customers to see American Express as being more than just a payment vehicle.” Having a card with perks, added Barnes, “stimulates spending on the card, but more importantly, it builds customer loyalty.”

To celebrate Front of the Line’s 25th anniversary and to launch Invites, Amex hosted media and bloggers at an exclusive event during the John Legend concert earlier this month in Toronto. The campaign entails a robust blogger and influencer program and consumer-facing activities including Twitter sweepstakes giving away 25 pairs of tickets a day.

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