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American Express keeps holiday shopping top-of-mind via iAd campaign

American Express is putting functionality at the forefront of its iAd campaign to drive consumers to shop from small businesses during one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year.

This is the third year that American Express is promoting Small Business Saturday, which encourages consumers to shop from small, local businesses on Nov. 24. American Express has used Apple’s iAd network in the past, but this year’s campaign for Small Business Saturday marks the company’s first use of a tap-to-calendar function.

“Mobile consumption is growing and we are keen at making sure that we are in the mobile space and thinking about ways to provide utility while also generating awareness,” said Jill Toscano, director of global media at American Express, New York.

Mobile reminder
The creative for the iAd ad features scrolling text that reads, “Welcome to local treasures. Welcome to perfect finds.”

The ad then expands to a landing page that lets consumers watch a 30-second video clip to learn more about Small Business Saturday, which takes place nationwide on Nov. 24.

Users can also set a calendar reminder from the ad unit that is saved to their device.

The calendar message encourages consumers to shop at their favorite small businesses. A call-to-action for the event’s microsite —  — is also promoted in the message.

Once users save the calendar reminder to their device, the ad’s landing page lets users share information about the event via Twitter to friends and family.

The main goal behind Small Business Saturday is to drive consumers into local businesses for holiday shopping. Therefore, add-to-calendar is a great element for the company to incorporate into its mobile ad campaign to keep the time-sensitive event top of mind for users.

The in-ad mobile video

Building utility
This is not the first time that American Express has used an iAd campaign to spread the word about Small Business Saturday.

However, this year marks the first time that the company has used an add-to-calendar feature in a campaign.

Additionally, the tie-in with social media is critical in this campaign to help spread the word about Small Business Sunday. This helps get consumers behind the brand, which can be used to influence their friends and family on social networks.

In particular, iAd lets marketers target iOS users specifically with interactive elements.

However, it is also important to use mobile advertising for a utility that gives users an upfront value for interacting with an ad.

In this case, American Express is using utility — a tap-to-add calendar feature — as the backbone to the campaign with video and social media as additional ways to drive awareness.

Per Ms. Toscano, although it is important to include features that create an interactive experience for users, functionality comes first with mobile advertising.

“It’s about being very immersive and leveraging the platform for what it is meant to do with consumers,” Ms. Toscano said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York