American Express UNSTAGED SERIES

Posted on by Chief Marketer Staff

Pro AwardsBest Idea or Concept

Agency: Momentum Worldwide
Client: American Express

Over the past 20 years, American Express has established a reputation as a leading provider of tickets to sports and entertainment events exclusively for its cardmembers. However, competition has made the ticket industry increasingly commoditized, and American Express has needed to reposition its offering to better stand out in the crowd.

For the first time, they took to the web and social media. American Express launched “Unstaged: An Original Series from American Express,” in partnership with YouTube and VEVO, to create the first-ever web series (in 1080p HD) dedicated to top-tier, live concert performances.

AmEx partnered with top-tier artists who were having an album release. The artist’s YouTube VEVO pages were taken over with a unique skin and American Express Unstaged branding for a minimum of 45 days.

The Unstaged series kicked off on August 5, 2010 and featured Arcade Fire, directed by Terry Gilliam (of Monty Python fame) in the first ever live-streamed show at Madison Square Garden. The second performance was John Legend & The Roots, with special guests Common, Jennifer Hudson, CL Smooth and Estelle, directed by Spike Lee from Terminal 5 on New York’s west side. The third installment was with Sugarland at Best Buy Theater, directed by Kenny Ortega (High School Musical), with special guests Jon Bon Jovi, Ronnie Dunn and Little Big Town.

2011’s first concert was Duran Duran, directed by David Lynch (Twin Peaks, Blue Velvet), at The Mayan in Los Angeles with special guests Beth Ditto, Mark Ronson, Kelis and Gerard Way.

Unstaged turned the viewer into an active participant five ways: by allowing them to vote online (and now through mobile) for the song the artist should play during the encore in real time; letting them choose the director’s stream and alternate camera angles; providing a ‘tweet and greet’ where users could submit questions before the show; and an ongoing conversation where American Express inserts contextually relevant messages about the new album via a pop-up video.

iTunes integration allowed viewers to purchase each artist’s album. A collaboration with the online audience allowed them to submit creative photos or messages to be incorporated into the background.

Collectively, the streams resulted in more than 900 media placements, producing 1.3 billion media impressions, with total live stream views reaching 14 million and an average engagement of 18 minutes. Unstaged was viewed in 163 countries.

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