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American Express Saves Day in Seinfeld Webisode

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NEW YORK Jerry Seinfeld stars next to an animated version of Superman in a five-minute Webisode that premieres today as a part of a collaborative effort from independent Digitas and WPP Group's Ogilvy & Mather and Mindshare.

In the Barry Levinson-directed short film, Seinfeld enjoys friendly banter with the superhero in a diner, on the streets of New York and in his living room. When Seinfeld's new DVD player is stolen out of his arms, Superman stops the thief, but breaks the machine in the process. Seinfeld takes the DVD player back to the store for a full exchange thanks to American Express' anti-theft policy.

A second five-minute Webisode will debut later this spring. American Express chief marketing officer John Hayes said that the Web is, "Where people are spending time and where we can engage prospective customers." Two 15-second teasers airing on television will support the effort.

Seinfeld said he enjoyed the format because, "You can tell a more in-depth story than you can with a 30-second commercial. This is a different option. When you're looking for something to do, you can go to the computer instead of the television and you can watch it and explore whenever you want."

Both Levinson and Seinfeld expressed excitement at the prospect of accessing a large audience in an untraditional way. While Seinfeld acknowledged that these ads are not the first to use the Internet as their primary platform, he said that up until this point, humor has seldom been the focal point.