Years ago, I conceived of and pitched an idea to American Express called the "Care Card." or "White Card." -- a play on the Amex Centurion Card (commonly called the black card.") It got all the way to Josh Silverman, then President of Consumer Products for Amex. And then got squashed.

The idea was simple, for elite cardmembers (those who spend over $100k annually on their personal card) they could opt to waive their rewards points and instead, use those points to adopt a child in need. Books, food, education, clothing.. you name it. Every dollar you spend would help this, specific child. Your card would literally have a photo of that child on it.

For Amex it would increase spend. -You'll opt for the Amex over the Visa in your wallet because of little "Maria." You're opting to pick up the tab at lunches etc to get more dollars for your child and to show how altruistic you are to your friends.

Cardmembers would push-back against businesses that didn't accept Amex as a form of payment. No longer is it acceptable for merchants to steer cardmembers towards another card type, because little "Maria."

The cardmember gets to feel empowered, like they're making a positive impact on the world.

And Little Maria gets a leg up in life. It's a win, win, win.

I was told by American Express that they had tried a "giving" card a year earlier in Europe called "The Red Card." This card gave dollars to HIV research and support in Africa, based on how much you spent on it. It was a project of Bono's and it tanked. Apparently, people say that they're giving but their actions show otherwise. I was told that, because of that experience, there was "no appetite for altruism."

What they failed to see was that the "Red" card gave money to a "cause." My card gave money to a specific human being. When trying to convey this I quoted Stalin ( #sellingwithtng tip, don't quote Stalin in a sales call):

"A single death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic." I said the Red Card was a statistic, the Care Card is alleviating tragedy.

Still, they passed on it.

I hadn't thought about this experience in a long time, then I saw the below video in my Facebook feed. I should have called it the "Robin Hood Card." -Or some play on that.

Pretty awesome idea re the restaurant, eh?


I like it. I also love that you tried to pitch it with a Stalin quote.

posted by thenewgreen: 835 days ago