American Express looks for the art director in everyone

The credit card giant is bowing a Canadian-only, user-generated execution as part of its global 'Realize the Potential' platform.

American Express is using Facebook to give Canadians the opportunity to realize the potential of their inner art director.

Expanding upon an execution involving an iPad palette and a paintbrush it ran at the Molson Amphitheatre this past summer – inspired by a Jackson Pollock-esque ad execution running as part of its current ‘Realize the Potential’ brand campaign – Amex has kicked off a contest enabling people to head to Facebook to create their own digital canvases online. The best piece, as chosen by the brand, will be featured in an online ad, complete with the winner’s name on it and a brief snippet explaining how it all came to be.

‘The strategy is to give Canadians the opportunity to directly engage with the campaign,’ says David Barnes, VP, marketing and communications, American Express Canada. ‘It allows people to play off one of the creative assets within the campaign, but in more of a strategic way, it’s enabling them to play off the theme of the campaign, which is ‘Realize the Potential.”

The contest is being supported nationally with print ads in the Toronto Star, Toronto edition of Metro, the National Post and Globe and Mail, and online with weekend takeovers of Yahoo, MSN, Hotmail, YouTube and Also included in the media mix are Facebook advertising and a PR campaign reaching out to bloggers and Twitter users.

An event at Bay-Adelaide Centre in Toronto, taking place on Nov. 2, is also touting the contest. It will pit the media against each other, using an iPad and paintbrush, to see who can create the best digital canvas as decided by celebrity judge Colin Mochrie. The winner will have $5,000 donated to the United Way in their name.

The contest, which will run until Nov. 15, is a Canadian take on Amex’s worldwide ‘Realize the Potential’ campaign. It was developed in collaboration between Amex and its agency partners, Ogilvy Toronto, Brees PR, Mindshare, Neo@Ogilvy and Endeavour Media.