"The Members Project," which launched this month, invites consumers to membersproject.com, where they can submit and rate project ideas, join discussions on message boards and vote to choose one idea that the company will help bring to life with up to $5 million.
The promotion ties in with American Express' new brand campaign, "Are You a Cardmember," which highlights the value of being part of the AmEx community.
Leslie Berland, director of public affairs for AmEx, says the effort is "very online driven" and includes e-mails, banner ads as well as tools at the web site that allow users to get e-mail alerts. "It's very grassroots," she says. "We want to let people use the tools on the site, post on their blogs, send it to a friend."
Through June 17, card members can go to the web site and submit ideas in one of these categories: Arts & Entertainment, Business & Finance, Education, Environment & Wildlife, Fun, Health & Fitness and Community Development.
For every card member that registers, regardless of whether they come up with a project idea or just add their input on project ideas already submitted, American Express will contribute $1 toward the winning idea. American Express will commit at least $1 million and up to $5 million for the winning idea.
On June 18, AmEx and its advisory panel, which includes talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, jazz genius Wynton Marsalis and Dr. Jane Goodall, for example, will narrow submissions to the top 50 ideas. Those will be announced on July 3, after which card members can vote online, narrowing entries to 25 and then 10 and then one. The winning idea will be announced Aug. 7.