American Express continues to build out their prepaid card business, strategically expanding into segments that align with the core demographic and key feature sets. In this case, its joining young men to rewards in the addictive world of “multiplayer online battle arenas”, where individuals meet to compete for bragging rights and virtual rewards.
From The New York Times:
“There is a great opportunity for brands here, particularly brands that make sense for our players,” he said, referring to the 18- to 24-year-old men who make up the bulk of the company’s player base. That group, he added, “is becoming harder to reach on TV and other mediums.”
Executives at American Express declined to say what the campaign would cost, but according to data from Kantar Media, a unit of WPP, in 2012 the company spent $36 million advertising its prepaid cards on television, in magazines and online.
Reaching target audiences is becoming more challenging as consumers bypass traditional outlets, like standard TVs for more dynamic content sources and online gaming. True to form, American Express has partnered with the game that as of June 2012 had over 1.2 billion users (according to industry survey), almost twice as many as the next game, World of Warcraft. Users who sign up for the card get the account for free, receive bonus points when they sign up, load their first $20, and connect the account to direct deposit.
Online gamers might not be the most intuitive choice for an American Express product, but given its demographic, high degree of loyalty, and potential to drive incremental digital transactions to the network, it speaks to the company’s singular focus on its brand value and ability to leverage merchant revenues in support of its issuing business.
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