American Express is raising the bar on social media marketing with their new campaign, “The Members Project.”
At a time when so many social media marketing campaigns are pointless, weird, or just plain boring, (too many to name in the latter category) this is a welcome and refreshing addition to the lexicon. Bravo!
The campaign, open to AmEx card holders only (think membership expansion) combines corporate social responsibility with social media. An email said:
“…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.”
Participants read and rate the ideas, and on July 3rd, the top 50 projects will be announced so the favorite can be chosen.
The campaign has community, interesting ideas, a conscience, a point, and is also sure to raise awareness, add a coolness factor to carrying the card, and, well, you get the point, I think it’s great.
I thought it looked like a great idea as well. But after numerous attempts to log in…including trying names I know couldn’t possibly be in use…and still getting an error message…coupled with no way to contact anyone online (a Help link would be nice), I gave up. Life’s too short!
Thanks for bringing the amex campaign to our attention. “The Members Project” is an example of what I call, “good karma marketing,” a marketing philosophy that cuts across all marketing disciplines. It means the brand is socially responsible and has listened to their community of customers and prospects to find out what THEY are concerned about. It raises awareness of important community issues (and the community can be global, regional or very local) and gives large corporations a more human face. Another example going on right now is HSBC’s
“There’s no Small Change.” http://www.theresnosmallchange.com It’s not a “perfect” campaign, but then again, I don’t see any other world bank sticking their neck out to stick up for the environment!
Easy-to-use login systems: Priceless.
How much is the golden parachute for the AmEx CEO? If it’s more than $100 million let’s take some of that back and apply it to this “promotion” so this “promotion” might actually mean something.
When I first heard about Members Project I was quite excited about the possibilities. Now, I’m frightened and upset.
I’m wondering if you are aware of what American Express can do with proposals submitted to Members Projects? I think that any individual or legitimate organization concerned with the rights of individuals should be very concerned about American Express and their Members Project.
I just submitted a proposed project to this competition. Throughout their site they prominently display the following: “Your ideas. Your decision. Our money.” However, as I found out from a colleague after I submitted my project that the “Terms and Conditions” contradict their statement about “your ideas,” etc. In fact, once you submit a project all ideas and intellectual property are owned by American Express. They could take your project and do it without you. The actual statement (which is not particularly easy to find) is:
User Content/Assignment: You irrevocably assign to American Express all rights (including copyrights) in any ideas or expressions of ideas that you provide on or through the Project Site, including without limitation the Project Submission and all comments, suggestions, graphics, ideas (including product and advertising ideas), and other information or materials you submit on the Discussion Boards and otherwise on or through the Project Site (collectively, “User Content”), all of which will become and remain the exclusive property of American Express, including any future rights associated with such materials. American Express and its licensees and designees shall have the right to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, create derivative works from, distribute, and display the User Content for any purpose (including without limitation for purposes of advertising, publicizing, and promoting Members Project, other versions of Members Project, and/or American Express or its affiliates), in any media whatsoever, now or hereafter known, throughout the universe in perpetuity, without compensation (monetary or otherwise) or notice to you (collectively, “Usage Rights”). Notwithstanding the foregoing, you (and applicable third parties) shall retain all ownership rights to any Support Material you provide (other than the audio recording of your personal message, which shall be owned by American Express), but hereby grant to American Express and its licensees and designees all Usage Rights (subject to any limitations specifically identified to American Express in writing with respect to any third-party element incorporated in the Support Material).
You release and waive all claims against the American Express Parties with respect to any intellectual property or other proprietary rights, rights of privacy and publicity, rights of attribution, or any other liability under the governing law of the United States.
I found this to be shockingly sleazy. My professional work is tied to my project, and this presents a huge problem, as I’m sure it does for you.
I wrote to American Express to withdraw my project and they said they couldn’t do it, even though the following appears on their site:
Q: Can I withdraw my project?
A: Yes. If you withdraw your project, it will be noted as withdrawn on the site. Once you withdraw a project, you may submit a new project if the submission deadline has not passed. You also may recommend another project to support, if you wish.
You may want to investigate this further.
Best of luck.