Winners by Category – Financial Services & Insurance: Banking & Credit Services



Client: American Express Small Business Services

Campaign: Small Business Services Fee Increase

Agency: OgilvyOne Worldwide

Creative Director: Pete McLeod

Copywriter: Jennifer Silaschi

Art Director: Andrea Polackova

American Express’ Small Business Services needed to increase revenue to cover costs. Consequently, it was necessary to charge its current customers more money and encourage them to spend more on their cards. Sounds ideal – but how did it go about convincing its members that they were going to be paying more?

One, it changed the colour of the card to gold, emphasizing the ‘class’ of customer their members had become. Second, it added some benefits to the cards – namely, a small business savings program through which small business owners could save money on everyday business purchases at specific retailers.

The marketing strategy – sending out sequenced direct mail to current Corporate Card for Small Business holders to communicate relevant messages in digestible formats – was to make the fee increase more palatable by offering new benefits. Partner mailings followed to enhance impact and, ideally, increase card spending.

Although the fee increase could have translated into customer loss as card members sought out better value from competing card companies, the company reported that year-end cards in force climbed in 1999. In addition, customers ended up spending more on their cards – the annual average spend per account experienced double-digit growth.


Bank of Montreal – Everyday Banking, for its Air Miles Winnipeg Test, developed by Vickers & Benson Direct + Interactive (VBDI).


Bank of Montreal – Electronic Banking Services, for its Business Card ‘A Tribute to Your Success’ campaign, developed by Vickers & Benson Direct + Interactive (VBDI).


Scotiabank for its Scotia OnLine campaign, developed by Rapp Collins Worldwide and Modem Media Canada.