The Wall Street Journal ran an interesting feature (subscription required) about the latest craze in credit cards: cool colors, unique partnerships/charitable tie-ins and, in the case of the American Express titanium card, the so-called ‘plunk’ factor.
As a titanium card holder, I know of what they speak. According to the article, the average credit card tips the scales at a measly 0.17 ounce. Hah! The mighty titanium card weighs in at a massive 0.53 ounce. And, says, Amex execs, that added heft is what creates the plunk factor.
It’s true. That card is a big momma. And when waiters, bartenders or hotel clerks see and feel the card for the first time, they do a definite double take. Some even emit a "wow…" as well.
Plunk factor and viral buzz have to be the ultimate holy grail for a card company. Sadly, I can’t say that I’m part of Amex’s titanium card word of mouth army because, frankly, while I dig the card, I’m also a little embarrassed by it. I mean, it’s like having a Sherman tank in your wallet. You pull that baby out and slap it down on a table, and, boom, it’s like a 3 megaton bomb has exploded.
In the ‘me too’ world of credit card marketing, I’m surprised Visa or Mastercard haven’t supersized one of their own cards and trumped the titanium with, say, a 0.65 ‘mother of all cards’ card. I know I would. And, hey, for a strategic partnership, the ‘mother’ card company could team up with chiropractors, who would obviously be needed to treat the lower back pain caused by the card.