American Express gives cash for small business makeover

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Small business owners submit photographs and survey responses for cash contest
Small business owners submit photographs and survey responses for cash contest

The Offer: Each small business that enters American Express Open's "Big Break for Small Business" contest through May 20 received a $50 Facebook credit. Five winners will receive $20,000 and a trip to the social network's headquarters. 

The Data: Participants answered three survey questions, including queries about their business' social media needs. 

The Channel: The contest lived exclusively on 
Facebook, but American Express Co. sent emails to 
small businesses that accept the card. It also promoted the campaign on the American Express Open Forum. 

The Creative: Small business owners submitted photographs of their businesses along with their survey responses. American Express Open will film 10 finalists' businesses, and Facebook members will vote on the videos to determine the five winners. 


Herschell Gordon Lewis heads LewisEnterprises in Pompano Beach, Fla. He writes copy for, consults with, and conducts workshops for clients worldwide. He is the author of 32 books including the best-selling On the Art of Writing Copy. Lewis has been elected to the Direct Marketing Association's Hall of Fame.

Two crucial elements are lacking: the specific comparative commercial value of "liking" Small Business Saturday; and the value of a competition whose purpose seems to be getting contestants to supply
ammunition for Facebook so it can persuade more to use its platform. 

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