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American Express is just plain smart. Today, they launched a new initiative to cardmembers called The Members Project - capitalizing on the popularity of reality TV shows like American Idol. And the winner gets..... up to $5 million big ones!


I have a bias towards American Express. They were the only credit card company that extended real credit to me when I immigrated to the U.S. They actually checked my Amex history in Canada, unlike Citibank and others who claim their companies over the 49th parallel are unconnected. So, when I received the e-mail this morning announcing The Members Project, I was intrigued and read it thoroughly.
This is corporate philanthropy at its best. It's the ultimate win-win situation.

"Introducing The Members Project, an exciting new initiative that brings American Express® Cardmembers together to do something good for our world.
Join Cardmembers to dream up, and ultimately unite behind, one incredible idea. American Express will bring it to life with up to $5 million.
So where does the money come from? It's all about power in numbers. For every Cardmember that registers, American Express contributes $1 – up to $5 million for that one winning idea.*
Will you send meningitis vaccines to Africa? Rebuild a school in New Orleans? Or support small organic farmers? The possibilities are endless. The decision is yours. Join The Members Project today."

Members can recommend projects and recipient organizations, and over time, they can vote and narrow the list down, just like on American Idol.
It's creative. It's innovative and can likely capture the hearts of older Millennials. It's a great acquisition tool for Amex and another nugget to add to their corporate social responsibility bag of good deeds.
Way to go American Express. I look forward to seeing how this one plays out.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
image of Elaine Fogel

Elaine Fogel is president and CMO of Solutions Marketing & Consulting LLC, and a marketing and branding thought leader, speaker, writer, and MarketingProfs contributor. She is the author of the Beyond Your Logo: 7 Brand Ideas That Matter Most for Small Business Success.

LinkedIn: Elaine Fogel

Twitter: @Elaine_Fogel