Amex launches Blue Card in UK

American Express is launching a new credit card in the UK, called the American Express Blue Card, after testing the concept in other countries.

It is understood that a major advertising push by Ogilvy & Mather will be used to raise the profile of Amex in the UK where it is under attack from new US entrants to the market, including MBNA and Capital One.

The campaign will also seek to attract a younger market to Amex, which is traditionally used by business people aged over 35.

The Blue Card, which is tailored to suit different markets, will be a straightforward credit card in the UK and emphasis will be on strong branding. “Brand is more and more important in the UK. As new players flood the market, consumers don’t know what each brand stands for,” says Amex Europe director of public affairs Doug Smith.

Amex is testing the Blue Card in Italy in the form of a deferred debit card.

It has already launched the Blue Card, in various forms tailored to suit individual markets, in Germany, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Canada, Australia and Japan.

UK advertising will follow the pattern of international campaigns in an attempt to present a more upbeat image.

Smith claims there is still a large untapped market in the UK. “Only 50 per cent of consumers have a credit card – there is still tremendous potential,” he says.

American Express Europe spent over 20m on advertising in the UK 1997, according to ACNielsen-MEAL.

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