American Express Hopes Taylor Swift App Turns Fans Into Future Cardmembers

The ‘cin­e­mat­ic inter­ac­tive musi­cal expe­ri­ence’ is based on her wild­ly pop­u­lar sin­gle, ‘Blank Space’.

Lisa Lacy By Lisa Lacy. Join the discussion » 0 comments

Amer­i­can Express has extend­ed a pro­gram that orig­i­nat­ed as a series of live dig­i­tal expe­ri­ences to mobile in part­ner­ship with music indus­try dar­ling Tay­lor Swift. The effort not only pro­vides Swift fans with an inter­ac­tive video and addi­tion­al Swift con­tent, it intro­duces a whole new gen­er­a­tion of poten­tial future card­mem­bers to the Amer­i­can Express brand.

Amer­i­can Express has launched an inter­ac­tive video expe­ri­ence in con­junc­tion with none only than Tay­lor Swift, the Amer­i­can Express Unstaged Tay­lor Swift Blank Space Expe­ri­ence App, which it says gives fans “a nev­er-before-seen, 360° immer­sive music video expe­ri­ence for her new sin­gle, ‘Blank Space.’”

Avail­able for down­load from iTunes and Google Play, the app adds “a new lev­el of inter­ac­tiv­i­ty to Swift’s renowned sto­ry­telling in her music videos,” the brand says.

That’s because it allows fans to explore the video set­ting by mov­ing their phones or tablets to change the view up, down and around, as well as by tap­ping select ele­ments in the video inter­face. The video includes six rooms, as well as char­ac­ters and hid­den items that are “con­nect­ed to the sto­ry­line that only appear in this inter­ac­tive ver­sion.”

Those hid­den items include 41 so-called col­lectibles that Wal­ter Frye, direc­tor of enter­tain­ment mar­ket­ing for Amer­i­can Express, says will res­onate with Swift’s fans, such as a grand­fa­ther clock with the num­ber 13 and a piano Frye said is “sig­nif­i­cant to the home we shot in.” It also includes a TV with sta­t­ic called “Track 3” as a nod to ear­li­er news reports of an album leak in Cana­da that yield­ed sta­t­ic.

A true fan will know what that is about,” Frye said. “Every­one else walks right by, but it’s fun for us and [Swift], too…It’s actu­al­ly been real­ly excit­ing for us to watch the social buzz since the app launched. Fans are lit­er­al­ly so excit­ed to go through these rooms and find dif­fer­ent clues and share the expe­ri­ence with oth­ers as they go through that jour­ney.”

Accord­ing to a press release, Amer­i­can Express and Swift will share clues with fans through notes and pho­tos from her per­son­al and pro­fes­sion­al life that are hid­den with­in the app expe­ri­ence.

In addi­tion, Frye said the inter­ac­tive video is a col­lab­o­ra­tion between Swift, direc­tor Joseph Kahn and the Amer­i­can Express team, which worked togeth­er to devel­op new char­ac­ters that don’t exist in the stan­dard video “and oth­er ways the sto­ry could be extend­ed a lot deep­er than what you see in the lin­ear video.”

Frye said that as Kahn shot the lin­ear video, Amer­i­can Express reshot the same scenes with its own cam­era with “six dif­fer­ent cam­era eyes around it,” which cap­tures every­thing in the room at the same time and allows view­ers to use an accelerom­e­ter and look up and down to choose their own adven­tures.

When Tay­lor and her male inter­est leave the room, there is more to the sto­ry,” Frye said. “You can see the but­ler pick up a note­book or a dif­fer­ent but­ler clean up the flow­ers. It was real­ly fun to think through how the sto­ry can extend.”

Con­tent also includes the offi­cial video and behind-the-scenes footage of the video shoot.

The video is also avail­able on YouTube and, as of Novem­ber 13, has near­ly 28 mil­lion views.

We know that music is one of the high­est pas­sion points of our card­mem­bers and our prospects and we look to cre­ate mem­o­rable music expe­ri­ences every day,” Frye said. “We have an oppor­tu­ni­ty to intro­duce new peo­ple to the brand via dig­i­tal technology…for us, it’s a way to extend the rela­tion­ship with artists, to con­nect the artist with fans and to intro­duce the artist to new fans and it real­ly just becomes almost a rein­forc­ing cycle of how to cre­ate val­ue in the indus­try.”

Accord­ing to Frye, the Amer­i­can Express Unstaged series was orig­i­nal­ly devel­oped in part­ner­ship with YouTube and Vevo for live dig­i­tal expe­ri­ences for card­mem­ber events “and then scale that event to fans around the world to attract new prospects.”

Pre­vi­ous artists include Phar­rell Williams, Cold­play, and Arcade Fire.

This app, which is launch­ing with Swift, is was Frye calls “an evo­lu­tion” of the orig­i­nal pro­gram.

We see an oppor­tu­ni­ty for Tay­lor fans to direct their own expe­ri­ence with­in the video and def­i­nite­ly see this as the begin­ning of work­ing with oth­er artists in this capac­i­ty,” he said.

The brand is adding an app because “we’re see­ing a huge rise in on-demand view­ing based on con­sumer con­sump­tion, but we also want­ed fans to be able to have a rich expe­ri­ence,” Frye said.

What do you think about Amer­i­can Express’ efforts to con­nect with the next gen­er­a­tion?

Lisa Lacy

Written by Lisa Lacy

Lisa is a senior features writer for Inked. She also previously covered digital marketing for Incisive Media. Her background includes editorial positions at Dow Jones, the Financial Times, the Huffington Post, AOL, Amazon, Hearst, Martha Stewart Living and the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund.

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