American Express “Members Moments”

American Express has given us some great celebrity-driven commercials in the past (backstage at The Ellen DeGeneres show remains one of my all-time favorites). A new spot breaking tomorrow out of Ogilvy gives viewers four more personal card member stories, this time all in one spot. Musician Dave Matthews, actress Gwyneth Paltrow, producer Brian Grazer and entertainer Tina Turner each discuss in the voiceover what it feels like to become a card member and the value it has had in shaping their lives. The spot begins with a shot of a concert crowd and Matthews talking about how having people believe in your dreams, i.e., American Express, makes all the difference in the world. Paltrow discusses how her mom inspired her; Grazer, the producer behind films such as The Da Vinci Code and A Beautiful Mind, tells how having “someone you respect validate you” builds confidence; and ends with Turner, who tells viewers that she knew she had “the goods” to make it as a singer, “I just had to get my freedom.” There is no mention of the abusive ex with which she began her career, Ike, but that context is there as she discusses her achievement of personal freedom with the help of AmEx (the spot notes she has been a card member since 1977, a year after she split with Ike). All in all, the spot gives viewers a few seemingly heartfelt moments with these stars through the narration, but cramming the four of them together and using archival footage rather than telling their stories in unique styles that match their personalities as the brand has done in the past (the quirkiness of director Wes Anderson on the set) seems to short shrift what could otherwise be more compelling brand stories.--Eleftheria Parpis