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From the 15th Annual Shorty Awards

Connecting American Express’ Small Business Saturday with the Next Generation of Shoppers on TikTok

Finalist in Financial Services, TikTok

Bronze Honor in TikTok Partnership


American Express created the #ShopSmall Accelerator in partnership with TikTok to build on its legacy as the leader of supporting small (Amex founded Small Business Saturday in 2010 which has become a global movement) and to help small businesses connect with the next generation of shoppers where they are today. 

Data from the Small Business Economic Impact Study from American Express found that if every Gen Z & Millennial shopper in the U.S. spent $10 at a small business on Small Business Saturday, it would support $2 billion in local economic activity throughout the U.S. That, paired with the fact that Amex’s Shop Small Impact Study found 65% of Gen Z & Millennial shoppers discover small businesses on social media, supported this idea and opportunity for Amex to help small businesses reach and engage the next generation of shoppers to raise their awareness and drive more business. 

Activated during the lead-up to Small Business Saturday 2022, the Accelerator was a master class made for today’s small businesses, providing them with the tools to maximize TikTok and stand out during the busy holiday shopping season. As an added bonus/incentive, Amex offered eligible small businesses an opportunity to earn a $100 TikTok Advertising credit to get ready for the day. 

To ensure small businesses and consumers could showcase their support for shopping small, Amex also partnered with musical artist Chloe Bailey to create a unique TikTok sound called the “Shop Small Soundtrack” that small businesses and consumers could use in their content.

Strategy and Execution

The program’s strategy complemented key consumer and small business insights: 

The #ShopSmall Accelerator provided a toolkit to connect small businesses to the next generation of consumers in a holistic, impactful way. 

American Express also worked with musical artist and Gen Z phenomenon Chloe Bailey to create a unique TikTok sound called the “Shop Small Soundtrack” that consumers could use in their content to showcase their Shop Small hauls and proudly share how they were supporting their local businesses.

American Express created a comprehensive amplification plan across earned, paid, partner, owned and creator channels as well as below-the-line marketing such as TikTok’s small business newsletter to raise program awareness. These amplification efforts helped small businesses do more business and reinforced that Amex continues to be a leader in supporting #ShopSmall.


Our primary goal was to connect small businesses with resources that would enable them to gain visibility and drive more business via TikTok–and by extension reach the next generation of shoppers. This proved successful, with thousands of visits to the “Accelerator” landing page and hundreds of businesses applying for the advertising-credit offer. 

We showcased how American Express championed small business, earning headlines and attention from such consumer-facing outlets as Fast Company, ABC’s Good Morning America, NPR, The TODAY Show, CNBC, Forbes, Adweek, Bloomberg Radio, Digiday, INC., E! News, Marketing Dive, Variety, WWD, Yahoo! Finance, and American Banker. Overall, the program drove over 400+ earned media placements and surpassed coverage expectations. 

Finally, we extended the #ShopSmall conversation to Gen Z and Millennials with earned placements in media outlets like Elite Daily, Distractify, and Cosmopolitan, and garnered over 900K views on creator videos across social channels. Thousands of users across the country used the Shop Small Soundtrack on their content to help promote Small Business Saturday. The Shop Small Soundtrack also generated close to two million impressions and nearly 100K engagements on TikTok.


Video for Connecting American Express’ Small Business Saturday with the Next Generation of Shoppers on TikTok

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Day One Agency, Barbarian, Dentsu Creative, M Booth, & UM, American Express