American Express Canada ran video ads in Instagram Stories to boost brand awareness of its new credit card offering, resulting in a 4-point lift in product awareness.

Diversified financial services

American Express is a global services company, providing customers with access to products and experiences that enrich lives and build business success. American Express was established in Canada in 1853 with the opening of offices in Toronto and Hamilton, and today is headquartered in North York, Ontario.


lift in ad recall


lift in product awareness for the Cobalt Card


lift in intent to consider

This audience is all about social, so we created a multi-channel marketing experience that speaks to them not only on the channels they use every day, but in a style and manner that feels familiar and resonates with them. Instagram was a great partner from beginning to end, allowing us to reach our core demographic and showcase Card benefits in an authentic way.
Boost card awareness in Canada

American Express Canada wanted to drive awareness, interest and acquisition for the new American Express Cobalt Card—a new style of credit card designed specifically to meet the needs of millennial consumers in Canada.

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Millennial-focused campaign

The brand-new Cobalt Card was a global first for American Express, as it was created to appeal to a very specific demographic—young professionals. With Cobalt, young Canadians get rewarded for the kinds of purchases they’re already making—it fits their life, not the other way around. For the digital ad campaign to promote the Cobalt Card’s launch, American Express wanted to engage with them on Instagram—a platform that’s also core to the lives they already lead.

To position the Cobalt Card to this younger generation, American Express Canada, along with media agency Mindshare and creative agency North Strategic, created ads with the messaging: “The Card that lets you do you.” Because millennials often enjoy displaying their social lives on social media—and food, drinks, travel and transit, entertainment and dining out are top passions—the ad creative focused on these areas.

The video ads in Instagram Stories featured celebrities and influencers, such as Marcus Stroman of the Toronto Blue Jays, who was shown using his Cobalt Card to earn rewards points when ordering takeout food, as well as while dining out with friends. The other videos featured @NoTummyMommy, a mother with a popular lifestyle blog who uses her Cobalt Card to earn rewards when purchasing her morning coffee, buying the family groceries and on a family dinner outing.

The conversion ads paired hard-hitting benefit messaging with lifestyle imagery featuring the Cobalt Card, including food layouts photographed from above and boomerang-style videos. The ad creative was periodically refreshed with alternative versions to foster continual interest.

American Express Canada showed these ads to Canadian adults aged 25–40, as well as those with an interest in dining and travel. To improve acquisition rates, Amex served ads to lookalike audiences based on characteristics of its existing Cardmembers. The company also retargeted ads to people who had previously indicated interest in the product by engaging with its ads or landing page to nurture these audiences and drive further conversions.

The results of the first 4 weeks of this September 26–December 31, 2017 campaign were determined using a Facebook brand lift study and a mix of Ads Manager and the advertiser’s own data, which revealed:

  • 8-point lift in ad recall

  • 4-point lift in product awareness (Cobalt Card)

  • 5-point lift in intent to consider

  • 18.5 video views (9.4 million more than campaign target)

  • 32% more card acquisitions than campaign forecast (compared to previous new card launches)

Video plays a critical role in the overall consumer decision journey and, given our millennial audience, it was important to lead with a social-first approach from planning to execution. The results are a testament to the strong collaborative partnership we have with Instagram, American Express and North Strategic.
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