The partnership between American Express and Microsoft is similar to other deals the credit card company has made over the past year or so. For example, American Express holders can link their account to their Foursquare, Twitter or Facebook accounts to unlock offers. But this marks the first time American Express has entered the interactive TV space.
Leslie Berland, the SVP of digital partnerships and development at American Express, said the company wants to be visible on the platforms that its customers are using today, “which we know gets them more engaged in the card and more loyal to us.” She said it also allows American Express to be considered a digital marketing platform for its merchant partners.
Once a cardholder links his or her account to Xbox Live, the partnership will work in two ways:
An American Express page on the Xbox Live dashboard will allow consumers to pick offers and load them directly onto their credit cards, enabling them to redeem them later without taking any further action. The savings will automatically appear on the next statement.
American Express also will connect offers to the actual games, starting with the highly anticipated Halo 4 release. Once players hit certain achievements in the game, they will be eligible to win various prizes, including a trip to E3, the annual video game trade show.
The first marketing partners to sign up include AMC Theaters, PacSun and Best Buy in the U.S. and Carphone Warehouse, Cineworld Cinemas, Dixons Travel and Topman in the U.K. Berland said they will continue adding sponsorships and rewards to the platform and will evaluate branching out to other interactive TV and gaming platforms.
Xbox marks a good first move, given that it has been the top-selling game console for several months running now. Likewise, Microsoft has been working on ways to integrate more ads within Xbox Live, which reaches roughly 40 million users. These people tend to be hard to reach elsewhere, given that the most dedicated users spend about three hours a day, an average of 84 hours a month, on the platform.
Maybe now, through deals like the ones from American Express, all that time spent on the platform will start paying off.