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AMERICAN EXPRESS CORPORATE CARD LAUNCHES AGGRESSIVE MARKETING CAMPAIGN; HIDDEN CHARGES BY BANK CARDS TARGETED IN NEW ADS

AMERICAN EXPRESS CORPORATE CARD LAUNCHES AGGRESSIVE MARKETING CAMPAIGN;
 HIDDEN CHARGES BY BANK CARDS TARGETED IN NEW ADS
 NEW YORK, Oct. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- American Express Travel Management Services today announced a new marketing campaign that focuses on the significant advantages that the American Express Corporate Card provides in contrast to the business cards offered by banks.
 The campaign is the first comparative advertising initiative ever for the Corporate Card, which pioneered the business charge card in 1970 and now serves over two-thirds of Fortune 500 companies. Since 1987, there has been a 41 percent growth in American Express's Corporate Cards in force and a 66 percent hike in spending. Today there are more than five million Corporate Cards in circulation.
 "With more banks pushing pieces of plastic for business use, we feel that it's time to cut through the confusion and rhetoric," said Roger H. Ballou, president, American Express Travel Services Group. "Companies need to know that, unlike other cards, the corporate card from American Express is all business. It was designed from the ground up to meet the needs of companies and their travelers."
 In the campaign debuting on Oct. 13, American Express will run four different print ads, each carrying the tagline, "It's all business." The ad headlines include:
 -- Born Leader, reiterating American Express' leadership in business T&E expense management, illustrated by its consulting capabilities, local account servicing and network of 1,700 offices worldwide.
 -- No Hidden Agendas, targeting "hidden fees" charged by bank cards, in the form of early delinquency charges and over-the-limit fees.
 -- Money Manager, stressing that cash advances are very expensive and should be well managed.
 -- Workhorse, stating that the American Express Corporate Card is welcomed wherever business people travel.
 The ads will run in the "Wall Street Journal" and in business journals in eight markets (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Boston, San Francisco, Minneapolis and Atlanta.) The campaign was created by Tassani Communications, Chicago.
 Comparative Approach
 The new advertising takes a stronger "benefit approach" than past campaigns in order to make the distinctions of the corporate card clear to clients and prospects. It also acknowledges the growing importance of the business T&E card market, as more companies rely on a charge card for corporate travel.
 According to the April 1992 edition of "The Nilson Report," the 1991 spending on general-purpose business cards totalled $37.6 billion. The report further estimates that this figure will increase to nearly $97 billion by 2000.
 The bank cards have 10.6 percent of this market, according to the article, which also states that "Bankcard competition in the corporate market has been slow to develop because there is limited profit incentive."
 "The banks have found the business sector to be relatively unprofitable," Ballou commented, "because their credit card profits rely on charging high interest on revolving credit -- something corporations refuse to pay. As the profits on their consumer cards wane, however, some banks are sticking a new label on the old credit card and calling it as a business product. We want to warn companies: Take a closer look."
 "There are many reasons why 89 of the Fortune 100 companies use the corporate card," said Ballou. "And we intend to be more vocal and more assertive in showing our strengths."
 The new campaign follows a series of product innovations that have been introduced since January. They include:
 -- Improved Management Information Systems (MIS) reports -- enhanced reports that give companies more actionable information, which puts them in a better position to negotiate with travel suppliers and monitor employee spending.
 -- Cash Management Program -- a menu of options for cash access, which helps companies streamline their cash advance process.
 -- Corporate Travelers Cheques -- a Travelers Cheque program tailored to businesses, saving the company up to 60 percent on the cost of issuing cash for T&E expenses.
 -- Global Travel Information -- a collection of consolidated reports that documents a multinational corporation's worldwide spending on travel.
 -- Value Added Tax Refund Counseling -- reports and consulting to help a company identify the VAT refund that are applied in 17 countries.
 -- Expense Management Services -- an automated system of filing and reconciling expense reports.
 While the marketing message being unveiled today addresses the needs of large companies, American Express has made a similar marketing investment in its corporate card programs for small and mid-sized companies. These two distinct business groups have their own sales and marketing support.
 The Small Business Services Group, which markets the corporate card to businesses with fewer than 100 employees, introduced a new national advertising campaign, including television, in January. The commercials, featuring small business Cardmembers, are now airing in major markets.
 The corporate services sector serves mid-sized companies, which are defined by American Express as businesses with between 100-1,000 employees. Established as a separate corporate card program in 1991 and marketed through direct mail and a dedicated sales organization, corporate services provides benefits that are most useful to high-growth companies. By the end of the year, this group will increase its sales force significantly.
 Industry Trends
 According to the 1992/93 American Express Survey of Business Travel Management, released this week, 66 percent of companies use a multi-purpose business card, while 81 percent of companies spending over $5 million use a multi-purpose card for T&E.
 The survey also found that companies are relying less on cash advances to fund T&E. The use of permanent cash advances has declined from 34 percent to 22 percent over the past two years, while the issuance of temporary cash advances has dropped from 80 percent to 74 percent.
 "Businesses need to save money on travel and entertainment, and the corporate card is a recognized solution to this challenge," said Ballou. "We intend to increase the value of our product, continue to improve our service, and turn up the volume in communicating our strengths."
 American Express Travel Management Services, which includes the American Express Corporate Card and Business Travel Services, assists companies in managing and controlling their business travel expenses. It is part of American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of the American Express Company (NYSE: AXP).
 -0- 10/12/92
 /CONTACT: Nancy Muller of American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc., 212-640-2479/
 (AXP) CO: American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc. ST: New York IN: FIN LEI SU:


TS-OS -- NY030 -- 8816 10/12/92 11:16 EDT
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Date:Oct 12, 1992
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