American Express “My People”

It’s always fun for the audience when a bit player unexpectedly steals a show. And that’s what happens in this spot for American Express (via Ogilvy), which otherwise stars Beyonce Knowles and Ellen DeGeneres. The singer has urged the talk show host to “have your people call my people” to arrange tickets for a Beyonce show, but this proves harder for Ellen to accomplish that one might imagine. Emerging from the building that houses the set for her show, she sees an actor who’s frantically blundering around in search of the sound stage where he’s supposed to enact his own scene (as the knobbiest-kneed Roman of them all, judging by the look of him). And suddenly, Ellen’s problem is solved, as the sight of this guy in his centurion helmet reminds her of the emblem on her American Express card. As the spot ends, she’s using the card to arrange for tickets. Those of us who don’t have “people” – and perhaps don’t even know people who have “people” – will enjoy the spectacle of Ellen fending for herself (with the indispensable assistance of her American Express card, of course). And we’ll take the point that the American Express card in our wallet can quite nicely fill the role of personal assistant. Meanwhile, does this commercial portend a whole AmEx campaign that features the brand’s helmeted Roman? One can only hope. –Mark Dolliver