American Express Hopes Taylor Swift App Turns Fans Into Future Cardmembers

The 'cinematic interactive musical experience' is based on her wildly popular single, 'Blank Space'.

Mobile & Apps

American Express has extended a program that originated as a series of live digital experiences to mobile in partnership with music industry darling Taylor Swift. The effort not only provides Swift fans with an interactive video and additional Swift content, it introduces a whole new generation of potential future cardmembers to the American Express brand.

American Express has launched an interactive video experience in conjunction with none only than Taylor Swift, the American Express Unstaged Taylor Swift Blank Space Experience App, which it says gives fans “a never-before-seen, 360° immersive music video experience for her new single, ‘Blank Space.’”

Available for download from iTunes and Google Play, the app adds “a new level of interactivity to Swift’s renowned storytelling in her music videos,” the brand says.

That’s because it allows fans to explore the video setting by moving their phones or tablets to change the view up, down and around, as well as by tapping select elements in the video interface. The video includes six rooms, as well as characters and hidden items that are “connected to the storyline that only appear in this interactive version.”

Those hidden items include 41 so-called collectibles that Walter Frye, director of entertainment marketing for American Express, says will resonate with Swift’s fans, such as a grandfather clock with the number 13 and a piano Frye said is “significant to the home we shot in.” It also includes a TV with static called “Track 3” as a nod to earlier news reports of an album leak in Canada that yielded static.

“A true fan will know what that is about,” Frye said. “Everyone else walks right by, but it’s fun for us and [Swift], too…It’s actually been really exciting for us to watch the social buzz since the app launched. Fans are literally so excited to go through these rooms and find different clues and share the experience with others as they go through that journey.”

According to a press release, American Express and Swift will share clues with fans through notes and photos from her personal and professional life that are hidden within the app experience.

In addition, Frye said the interactive video is a collaboration between Swift, director Joseph Kahn and the American Express team, which worked together to develop new characters that don’t exist in the standard video “and other ways the story could be extended a lot deeper than what you see in the linear video.”

Frye said that as Kahn shot the linear video, American Express reshot the same scenes with its own camera with “six different camera eyes around it,” which captures everything in the room at the same time and allows viewers to use an accelerometer and look up and down to choose their own adventures.

“When Taylor and her male interest leave the room, there is more to the story,” Frye said. “You can see the butler pick up a notebook or a different butler clean up the flowers. It was really fun to think through how the story can extend.”

Content also includes the official video and behind-the-scenes footage of the video shoot.

The video is also available on YouTube and, as of November 13, has nearly 28 million views.

“We know that music is one of the highest passion points of our cardmembers and our prospects and we look to create memorable music experiences every day,” Frye said. “We have an opportunity to introduce new people to the brand via digital technology…for us, it’s a way to extend the relationship with artists, to connect the artist with fans and to introduce the artist to new fans and it really just becomes almost a reinforcing cycle of how to create value in the industry.”

According to Frye, the American Express Unstaged series was originally developed in partnership with YouTube and Vevo for live digital experiences for cardmember events “and then scale that event to fans around the world to attract new prospects.”

Previous artists include Pharrell Williams, Coldplay, and Arcade Fire.

This app, which is launching with Swift, is was Frye calls “an evolution” of the original program.

“We see an opportunity for Taylor fans to direct their own experience within the video and definitely see this as the beginning of working with other artists in this capacity,” he said.

The brand is adding an app because “we’re seeing a huge rise in on-demand viewing based on consumer consumption, but we also wanted fans to be able to have a rich experience,” Frye said.

What do you think about American Express' efforts to connect with the next generation?