Amex Ads Highlight Moment Of Membership

American Express campaign

American Express moves away from selling the advantages of card membership to a message of inspiration and discovery through owning an American Express card in a new round of advertising.

"We're highlighting the moment of [membership]," Deborah Curtis, American Express vice president of advertising, tells Marketing Daily. "People have such clear memories of the moment they got the card. It has almost been emblematic for them."

The new television spot depicts Dave Matthews, Gwyneth Paltrow, Brian Grazer and Tina Turner talking about the qualities that made them who they are, and how having an American Express card helped them achieve their goals.

For example, Paltrow talks about the inspiration she received from her mother (and the independence she got from having an American Express card). Matthews talks about having people believe in him; Grazer talks about how confidence from others gave him the ability to achieve his dream of producing movies. And Turner talks about how gaining her freedom helped her.

As each celebrity ends his or her story, the campaign shows an adjective ("Empowered" for Matthews; "Independent" for Paltrow; "Confident" for Grazer and "Freedom" for Turner) along with the year they received their first American Express card. "There's a date on your card," says a voiceover. "Then there's a day when you realize it's more than a card." The spot continues the brand's "Are you a Cardmember?" line.

Previous celebrity installments of American Express' campaign highlighted the advantages of being a cardmember, such as access to exclusive areas and fraud alerts. But the current financial climate called for a different message, Curtis says.

"Now more than ever, reinforcing the relationship we have with our customers is important," Curtis says. "The relationship we have with our cardmembers is what makes us different and we want to highlight that."

The commercial broke during NFL and other event programming on Thanksgiving Day. Curtis would not say how long the spot will run or whether the 60-second spot featuring all four celebrities will be broken up into spots focusing on just one of the celebrities.

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