American Express targets millennial life

The brand launches a new product for Uber-loving young professionals with different views on rewards.

New customers to American Express are typically in their mid-40s, according to the company, but it’s hoping to be in more millennial wallets, launching a new credit card designed around all things attractive to the demo.

The new Cobalt Card is meant to deliver rewards with more breadth and based on millennials’ social lives, says David Barnes, VP of advertising and communications with American Express Canada. For example, points back on food and drink can come from takeout, morning coffee or bars (not just grocery) or travel points can come from Uber, taxis and Airbnb transactions (not just flights and traditional hotels).

In terms of design, Barnes says the idea of what he calls an “urban card” was to fit more into how young professionals already live, versus forcing them to fit into a structure of an existing rewards card. He says research suggested that demo doesn’t always find existing rewards relevant to them.

The card is a first for American Express globally and was designed in Canada, he says. Other markets are already interested in importing the program, he adds.

To support the launch, the brand has opened up “The Cobalt Social,” a pop-up restaurant in Toronto’s Kensington Market. The week-long pop-up will be home to specially created menus from celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay and locals Antonio Park and Matty Matheson. Limited quantities of Ramsay’s dishes will also be available on Sept. 27 and 28 through UberEats.

The brand has also created a new, heavily digital and social campaign called “You Do You.” American Express has forged partnerships with more than 75 influencers and celebrities, including pro baseball player Marcus Stroman, who will appear in various social content.

Ogilvy led the campaign platform for “You Do You,” with Mindshare on media, Notch Video on social content, North Strategic on PR and influencer relations and BT/A on experiential.