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American Express OPEN: The Ones to Watch™ at SEMA 2015


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Through The Ones To Watch™—a first-ever live design challenge— OPEN was able to shine a spotlight on the “making” side of the auto industry and prove our mission is to support small business at every turn.

OPEN leveraged its resources to give two professional auto airbrush small businesses, who could never afford a booth of their own, a stage to custom paint a car and showcase their talents LIVE. The visual artistry compelled people to stop, watch and engage with the businesses featured in our booth. By incorporating local auto shops to prep the car and a deserving local restaurant to receive the tricked-out car, we were able to give a few business owners a massive opportunity to grow their business while helping OPEN break all sales goals.


We found a deserving small business—Big Ern’s BBQ—that could use a custom car for marketing and deliveries. We purchased a car from a local dealership and had it prepped at a local auto shop. We flew in two airbrush artists, transformed our booth into their personal auto shop and challenged them to transform the car for Big Ern in only three days—a feat that normally takes weeks.

Attendees at SEMA also had a chance to contribute their own art by tagging a blank hood in our booth, side by side with the who’s who in the industry that came by to support our artists. On the last day, we revealed the car to Big Ern, drove it in SEMA’s parade of cars in front of 50,000 fans and then continued straight to Big Ern’s BBQ where local business owners surprised him to show their support.


OPEN was able to change the perception of being a company just there to sell credit cards to one that supports small businesses, wherever they are.

• Achieved 106% of Card Acquisition goal (6% lift over 2014)

• Generated 353 qualified leads

• Engaged thousands of attendees on-site

• Generated over 17K total potential social media impressions

• Gave our (2) ONES TO WATCH™ small business owners access to 100,000 potential customers

• Supported two local auto businesses (Team Ford Lincoln dealership & Updated Auto Body Shop)

• Raised awareness for a local business (Big Ern’s BBQ) through local media

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