American Express Goes Big on Small-Business Push. American Express, which is shunned by some small businesses looking to avoid high fees, has crafted an extensive program to promote those same businesses this holiday season. Kenneth Chenault, American Express chairman-CEO, speaks at a press conference in New York to announce Small Business Saturday as Mayor Bloomberg looks on. Typically, American Express charges higher fees for acceptance of its cards than rivals Visa or MasterCard. That not only makes it hard for some small businesses to accept, but has led at least one major retailer, H&M, to discontinue acceptance of the card. Still, that hasn’t stopped American Express, which has long promoted its cards to small business owners, from promoting Small Business Saturday this holiday season. Slated for the busy weekend after Thanksgiving, American Express is promoting Saturday, Nov. 27, as a day to support local businesses. That day is expected to be the sixth-biggest sales day for retailers this holiday season and the eighth-busiest day, in terms of traffic, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers. American Express did not respond to requests for comment, and it’s not clear exactly how many small businesses across the country accept the cards. Ed Gilligan, vice chairman at the company, said that small businesses use American Express cards more than any other card in the country, during an interview with CNBC earlier this month. He did not clarify whether those merchants using the cards also accepted the cards, however. To promote the program,American Express is running a national advertising campaign, as well as encouraging small business owners to register for free Facebook ads. The first 10,000 business owners to sign up will receive $100 of free Facebook advertising in the days leading up to Nov. 27. Those businesses do not necessarily have to accept American Express, Mr. Gilligan told CNBC. Facebook has also donated $500,000 in credits for those businesses to use in the future. The movement has taken off on Facebook, where nearly 875,000 people “like” the program. American Express had committed to donating $1 to the nonprofit Girls Inc. for each like, up to $500,000. American Express is also offering consumers a monetary incentive to shop at small businesses. The first 100,000 to register their American Express card will receive a $25 statement credit for spending more than $25 at a locally-owned, independent small business that accepts American Express on Nov. 27.”Small business is the engine of job creation in the U.S. economy,” Kenneth Chenault, American Express chairman-CEO, said in a statement. “It is also among the sectors hardest hit by the recession. By spreading the word about Small Business Saturday, we can help raise awareness about the critical role small businesses play in cities and towns across the country at a time when they need support the most.” According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, there were nearly 28 million small businesses in the U.S. last year. And, according to The 3/50 Project, a small-business advocacy group, for every $100 spent in locally-owned, independent stores, $68 returns to the community through taxes, payroll and other expenditures. Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become a part of the holiday shopping lexicon, but other themed days have fallen flat. Mobile Tuesday, promoted in 2008, never got off the ground. And Super Saturday, the last Saturday before Christmas, is most often referred to by industry insiders, not consumers.
The 63rd Annual Tony Awards On the stage at New York City’s Radio City Music Hall. The three-hour ceremony will be broadcast live (ET/PT time delay) on the CBS Television Network from 8:00 – 11:00 p.m. Additional performances for the 63rd Annual Tony Awards® Telecast were announced today. Dolly Parton along with the cast of 9 to 5: The Musical; Elton John with the cast of Billy Elliot, The Musical; Liza Minnelli; Stockard Channing; and the band Poison along with the cast of Rock of Ages, will be taking the stage, joining previously announced performances by this year’s Tony-nominated Best Musicals and Best Musical Revivals, including: Billy Elliot, The Musical; Guys and Dolls; HAIR; Next to Normal; Pal Joey; Rock of Ages; Shrek the Musical; and West Side Story. Celebrating Broadway across America – this year’s Tony Telecast will also feature some of Broadway’s favorites who are currently touring cities across the United States – Jersey Boys, Legally Blonde The Musical and Mamma Mia! Becky Gulsvig, who is on tour as Elle Woods in Legally Blonde, The Musical, will perform a number from the hit show. The Jersey Boys performance will feature five current actors who are currently playing the role of Frankie Valli, in various performances – Joseph Leo Bwarie, representing the Toronto company; Rick Faugno, representing the Las Vegas company, Courter Simmons, representing the national tour and Dominic Scaglione, Jr. representing the Chicago company, will perform a number together from the show. Michelle Dawson, Kittra Wynn Coomer and Rachel Tyler, currently on stage, as the Three Dynamos at the Pioneer Center in Reno, Nevada will perform a number from Mamma Mia! Presenters for the 63rd Annual Tony Awards include, Lucie Arnaz, Kate Burton, Kristin Chenoweth, Jeff Daniels, Hope Davis, Edie Falco, Will Ferrell, Carrie Fisher, Jane Fonda, Hallie Foote, James Gandolfini, Lauren Graham, Colin Hanks, Marcia Gay Harden, Nicole Kidman, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Lange, Frank Langella, Angela Lansbury, Samantha Mathis, Audra McDonald, Lin-Manuel Miranda, David Hyde Pierce, Piper Perabo, Oliver Platt, Susan Sarandon, Kevin Spacey, John Stamos and Chandra Wilson. Hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, The Tony Awards will be broadcast live in HD, from Radio City Music Hall on CBS, Sunday, June 7th, 8:00 – 11:00 p.m. (ET/PT time delay). The 2009 Tony Awards are presented by the Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing. To view the live Tony Awards pre-telecast, featuring the Creative Arts Awards, please log onto www.TonyAwards.com at 7:00 p.m. (EST) on Sunday, June 7th. For the first time ever, fans in the New York area are invited to watch the Tony Awards simulcast in Times Square. Live from Radio City Music Hall, the Tony Awards will be simulcast on the Clearchannel Spectacolor HD Screen, from 7:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. and will feature the pre-telecast Creative Arts Awards and the Tony Awards broadcast. Seating will be provided in Duffy Square.
About Tony Awards
The 2009 Tonys are presented by The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing. At The Broadway League, Nina Lannan is Chairman and Charlotte St. Martin is Executive Director. At the American Theatre Wing, Theodore S. Chapin is Chairman and Howard Sherman is Executive Director. For Tony Award Productions, Alan Wasser and Allan Williams of Alan Wasser Associates are the General Managers.
Ricky Kirshner and Glenn Weiss/White Cherry Entertainment are Executive Producers of the 2009 Tony Awards. Mr. Weiss will also serve as Director of the 2009 Tony Awards.
The official partners of the Tony Awards are Visa, the exclusive card accepted at
the Tony Awards; and IBM, which develops, designs, and hosts the official Tony Awards web site, www.TonyAwards.com.
The official supporters of the Tony Awards are Continental Airlines, the official airline of the Tony Awards; and Sprint, the official communications provider of the Tony Awards. The presenting sponsor of the Tony Awards Red Carpet is Audemars Piguet.
Promotional and media partners for the 2009 Tony Awards include USA Today, Van Wagner Communications, Clear Channel Spectacolor, Macy’s, TheaterMania.com, and BWYNOW (299669) The Mobile Way to Broadway.
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