Brand Slam: American Express vs Barclaycard

The financial services brands are creating activations at music festivals and sporting events, aiming to engender loyalty by tapping into fans' passions.

Andy Murray: part of American Express' Wimbledon activation
Andy Murray: part of American Express' Wimbledon activation

American Express 

Event structure 

The brand has worked with agencies including Momentum Worldwide, as well as forming partnerships with AEG, London Restaurant Festival and Somerset House.

Social footprint 

@AmexUK has 64,100 followers, its Facebook page has 7.9 million likes and its Instagram attracts 361,000 followers.

Recent campaigns

Through its partnership with AEG, American Express has hosted activations at a number of music festivals, most recently at All Points East in London in May. Upon arrival at the festival, card members who received a complimentary VIP upgrade could enter the site via a members' lane and enjoy access to an exclusive members' lounge with views across to the main stage.

Last year, the brand staged an immersive experience themed around "powering up" and energising for the day ahead. The experience, soundtracked by DJ and broadcaster Maya Jama, featured three zones, with visitors encouraged to "get zen" in a Japanese-styled forest, with the aim of feeling restored after a long day in the office.

Latest campaign

American Express was a sponsor of this year's Wimbledon tennis tournament and hosted a number of activations at the event. These included a fan experience where visitors could send tennis-themed postcards for free and take part in a virtual reality challenge, practising their shot-making skills with coaching and support from Andy Murray.

Amex cardholders could also take advantage of a branded members' lounge, featuring a bar, with guests also receiving free fans and in-ear radios with live broadcasts of the action on Centre and Number One Courts.

Barclaycard

Event structure 

Barclaycard has partnered with music festivals such as British Summer Time and worked with agencies including Cake and Iris. 

Social footprint

@Barclaycard has 30,000 followers on Twitter, just under 418,000 likes on Facebook and just over 3,000 on Instagram.

Recent campaigns

Last July, Barclaycard created a stage dive experience for those customers who ditched social media at festivals. The "Perk park" activity gave visitors a rockstar experience by allowing them to jump into a crowd in a digital experience, complete with a backing band. They were then taken through a backstage area to resemble the "greatest music venues in the world".

Barclaycard also piloted a self-service ice cream van, allowing customers to serve and pay for their ice cream using their contactless card. The activation, called "Cone-tactless" was developed in response to research showing that 40% of Brits were put off buying ice cream because of long queues. 

Consumers could choose their ice cream using the contactless cones touchscreen, before using their contactless card to pay and enjoying their treat. The van allowed for two separate queues, enabling people who just wanted a simple vanilla cone to receive it in less than 60 seconds.

Latest campaign

For this year's British Summertime Festival, at which Barclaycard is one of the sponsors, the brand created a dedicated space, the Barclaycard Sensorium, offering chill-out areas, a bar with live music and free ice cream. Visitors could also channel their inner rock star by entering an immersive space with special lighting and props such as a guitar, where they could mime to hit songs. The experience was also replicated at Download and Latitude festivals. 

Campaign says:

Both Barclaycard and American Express are following similar strategies by aligning themselves with popular music festivals. American Express offers its card members a bigger range of desirable benefits tapping into consumers' desires for more exclusive experiences.