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American Express teams up with Shaquille O’Neal to promote spending at small businesses

amex

Shaq is American Express' latest brand ambassador

American Express has called on Shaquille O’Neal for a series of digital videos that feature the basketball icon and celebrity guests shopping at small businesses.

The series is promoting American Express’s Shop Small for 2X Rewards offer, in which enrolled cardholders can earn two times as many rewards on purchases at participating small businesses through December 31. The campaign is part of an overall commitment to the small business on the part of American Express, which founded Small Business Saturday in 2010 to encourage spending at small merchants across the country. 

“Small Business Saturday and the Shop Small movement are create to help small businesses—both brick and mortar shops and mobile-based customers increase sales during the busy holiday shopping season,” said an American Express spokesperson. “Through the Shop Small Studio on ShopSmall.com, there are a variety of tools available for mobile-based businesses to highlight their online promotions, including the ability to customize cover photos and social posts.”

Digital campaign
The first spot of the series, a YouTube video hosted on American Express’ digital channels, features Mr. O’Neal and Kendrick Lamar at a Los Angeles soap shop called Soaptopia, sampling unique scents including the “Luscious Lamar Bar” and “Shea Butter Shaq.”

Kendrick Lamar made an appearance

Future spots featuring Mr. O’Neal and other celebrity guest shoppers will continue to debut in the coming weeks on American Express’ social channels. All locations involved are enrolled in American Express’ Shop Small program.

The company is also partnering with Mr. O’Neal to create special in-venue experiences for NBA fans as part of its Shop Small campaign. American Express is already heavily involved with NBA sponsorships, maintaining an official sponsorship of the NBA in addition to sponsoring six teams.

The first in-venue experience will debut on November 10 at the Chicago Bulls vs. Miami Heat game at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida.

The spot is the first of a series this holiday season

Shop Small
Eligible American Express cardholders can enroll in the Shop Small initiative by visiting its mobile-optimized Web site. Eligible card members will earn two times as many rewards based on their card’s specific rewards, which vary between cash back programs, Delty SkyMiles, Hilton HHonors points and others. 

The company promoted its Small Business Saturday initiative by offering a number of tools and resources for small businesses to connect with consumers and make the most of the holidays (see story). 

And it recently partnered with Airbnb to target business travelers by integrating the mobile booking service into the financial institution’s suite of products under its corporate travel management service (see story). 

“Mobile and social platforms are a great way for small businesses to reach new and existing customers all holiday season long,” the spokesperson said. “We recommend trying to reach customers through your social media channels and sending out a newsletter to your email list. 

“Online businesses can find inspiration from large department stores and create virtual ‘holiday windows’ by adding holiday-themed visuals to their websites and creating special landing pages and gift bundles.”

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Rakin Azfar is editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York. Reach him at rakin@napean.com.

 
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