Ad of the Day: American Express

Aziz Ansari goes crazy with the marketer's Sync social-media apps, but still doesn't get the girl

And the award for best entrance into a scene in a commercial this year goes to … Aziz Ansari for American Express.

The Parks and Recreation actor and comedian goes to great lengths to impress a girl in this humorous new AmEx spot from Ogilvy & Mather in New York, which broke Wednesday on The Tonight Show and pitches the marketer's Sync social-media discount feature. After learning on Facebook that the girl likes music, kayaking, skydiving and modern art, Ansari stocks up on related gifts for her—then literally kayak-parachutes into a restaurant, with the other presents in tow, to meet her.

It's too much—and she tells him so—but it's just right for the spot. Ogilvy and AmEx have made these kinds of ads look effortless lately—witness last year's Emmy-nominated Conan O'Brien commercial. Ansari is the perfect choice for this new role. He's young and hip and funny and has a giant social-media following (1.7 million followers on Twitter)—a great candidate to pitch the Sync service, which offers discounts to card members who sync up their social-media accounts with AmEx and then mention AmEx in their posts—with custom hashtags, etc. (Its "Link, Like, Love" app, promoted in the new spot, lets a user access deals based on brands that he or she "likes" on Facebook.) As always in spots like these, there's a tension between keeping the narrative amusing and pitching the product features—but it's managed more than adequately. Ansari even manages to make the potentially queasy stalker-ish aspect of the spot seem innocuous, even charming.

AmEx has put a lot of thought and energy into its social strategy in the past couple of years. This spot gives it solid advertising to match.

Client – American Express
John Hayes – Chief Marketing Officer
Ben Stuart – VP, US Advertising & Global Agency Relations
Ann Mecca – Director, US Advertising
Elizabeth O’Pray- Manager, US Advertising

Agency – Ogilvy & Mather
Steve Simpson – Chief Creative Officer, North America
Gerard Caputo – Executive Creative Director
Chris Maiorino – Creative Director – Copywriter
Milton Correa – Associate Creative Director – Art Director
Evan Slater – Associate Creative Director – Copywriter
Jones Krahl – Associate Creative Director – Copywriter

Aziz Ansari – Copywriter

Melissa Mapes – Executive Producer
Christina Thompson – Producer
Michael Freeman – Music Producer
Kelly Allen – Assistant Producer

Account Management
Simon Pearce – Managing Director Advertising
Matthew Biagi – Executive Marketing Director
Jessica Schaevitz – Account Executive

Production Company – Smuggler
Randy Krallman – Director
Lisa Rich – Executive Producer/COO
Allison Rich – Executive Producer
Alexandra Lisee – Producer

Editorial – No 6
Lawrence Young – Editor
Justin Quagliata – Asst Editor
Toni Lipari – Executive Producer
Evan Meeker – Producer

Carbon VFX
Andrew Brown and David Nelson – Animators
Lisa Munoz and Felix Cabrera – Producers

Pulse – Music Productions
Rich Decicco – Composer
Dan Kuby – Producer