We’ve just launched the American Express Shop Small campaign to help get British high streets back up and running … making front page news

Loads of people will be aware of the annual American Express Shop Small campaign – the normal crescendo of which is Small Business Saturday as an alternative, independent retail focused, celebration of small and independent retailers.

Well, because of the state of the high street and a pressing need to support small retailers as they open up for business once more, American Express launched its Shop Small campaign early this year – pumping £16 million into small businesses across England (with Scotland and Wales to come).

We launched the campaign yesterday.

To do so, we captured what was to turn out to be pretty much the image of the day.

We worked with five artists to create interpretations of the humble OPEN sign, each in their own unique illustrative or typographic style.

The artist-designed signs were then shot in a host of small retailers that American Express is backing with pretty full-on Amex branding – and the shots shared across the media to land the message: independent retailers are open for business once more and ready to come out fighting.

As it turned out, they captured the mood perfectly.

We made the front page of the iPaper, the front page of the Daily Star, a DPS in the Daily Mirror and picture slots across The Times, The Guardian and the Daily Telegraph. Combine that with shots across PA stories marking the reopening, two appearances as the lead pics on the homepages of The Guardian and three on BBC News and we were pretty happy with the results.

Cracking on for over 250 pieces of coverage and a stunning start to what will be a long-term campaign to show our backing for the high street …