The time is right for Amex Canada to market around travel again

The financial brand is supporting its new Aeroplan cards by tapping in to the fact that Canadians are beginning to plan big trips again.

AMEX-CANADA-ARNETTBrands from Club Med to Sunwing are keen on getting Canadians moving again, and Amex is no exception, tapping actor Will Arnett to urge travellers to go on an adventure.

The financial services brand, in support of its redesigned suite of Aeroplan Cards, is launching a TV and digitally-led campaign called “Happy Places.” It features the Arrested Development star in a bathtub playing with a toy Air Canada jet and donning a set of headphones to bone up on his French.

Vanessa Crooker, VP of enterprise brand, loyalty and partnerships for American Express Canada, tells strategy the brand launched the new American Express Aeroplan Cards in 2020, coinciding with Air Canada’s relaunch of the loyalty program. While Air Canada decided to focus on the “everyday value” the program offers in addition to travel perks, given the uncertainty of the pandemic, Crooker says Amex decided to instead push its marketing campaign when a return to travel was more within reach.

While most Canadians aren’t hopping on planes just yet, Crooker says the fact that they can now begin thinking of doing so made the timing for the campaign right. Recent research showed that 80% of Canadians report the anticipation of travel uplifts their mood, whilst 57% are actually planning to take a vacation in the next 12 months.

According to Crooker, the campaign is all about connecting to the idea that now, more than ever, nothing brings people together like the joy of sharing new experiences, particularly when it comes to travel.

“The research also backs up what we’re seeing from a business perspective – card members have increased their travel bookings over the course of the summer,” Crooker says.

Crooker says Amex developed this program with the seasoned traveler and Air Canada enthusiast in mind. For example, she says the American Express Aeroplan Business Reserve Card is a great option for the business traveller and offers extra points on eligible hotels and car rentals. There are some new features like a free first checked bag, Maple Leaf Lounge access and priority boarding that will also resonate with the occasional traveller, too.

Amex Canada is going to be running a mix of 15- and 30-second spots for the remainder of the year across top-rated TV shows, as well as sports, news and specialty. Amex is leaning into TV, but also has Facebook, Instagram and Twitter ads, and is also expanding into Pinterest to really hone in on an audience looking for travel inspiration.

Ogilvy led creative on TV, online video and digital, with North Strategic is handling public relations with production arm Notch on social creative. The media buy is being handled by UM.