Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Don't Waste Your 'Potential', American Express

I saw an intriguing (to a search markering professional) ad in the underground in London and @dusoft was kind enough to snap this shaky photo of it for me.

American Express urges you to "realise the potential" by using the membership rewards programme. The ad contains a URL ( but also another interesting bit: it says you can just search for 'potential'.

We had a small discussion with @dusoft what that meant. I thought maybe they had optimised for the probably not terribly competitive KW 'potential' on google and ranked. He said the top spots would definitely be taken by dictionary definitions.

I followed up, first trying to search for potential on but nothing related to the campaign came up. When I tried, here is what I saw:

American Express uses Adwords to serve an ad for searches for potential. Surprisingly, the URL displayed with the ad, fails to resolve. The UK version ( does work, but redirects to the hideous

So here is my free advice for UK's American Express:
1. Do not waste your potential!
2. Optimise organically for 'potential', maybe the top position isn't achievable but a top 5 should be for someone with your resources
3. Make sure the display URLs you use for Adwords ads actually resolve
4. Users appreciate clean URLs

Danny Sullivan mentions two examples of entities using a call for search for navigation - Matt Mullenweg says to search for 'Matt' on Google on his business card (see here) and Sony said to search for '2012' to find the film. Unlike American Express, these two seem to work.

Someone with their resources should really be able to do better than this, right?