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Have you ever wondered how some people get chosen to be profiled on a commercial? You may have seen the American Express Gold Card commercial featuring Sammy’s Fish Box, Sam Chernin’s flagship restaurant on City Island in the Bronx (one of five eateries he currently owns). Most small businesses would like to be featured on this type of very professionally produced commercial for the free publicity (rather than the low-budget commercials they can afford), but it may not be that easy.

As the author of this article explained, maybe Sammy was chosen because he had obtained millions of rewards points through his purchases of supplies for the business. But she later discovered that it requires much more than just using a product. As American Express’ chief marketing officer explained, AMEX looks for business owners who not only use their products to help businesses grow, but do this in an especially unusual way that may influence other business owners.

1. Since this commercial began airing, how much have the restaurants’ revenues increased?
2. If Mr. Chernin exchanged his rewards points for cash, how should he account for the cash?
3. How should Mr. Chernin account for the rewards points that he exchanges for trips for his employees?


Fisher, A. (2011). Entrepreneur gets credit-card star treatment. Crain’s New York, March 25 (Retrievable online at Sammy’s Fish Box (Retrievable online at