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AmEx Promotes Small-Business Services

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NEW YORK American Express will launch a campaign on Sunday promoting its Open: The Small Business Network division, according to a company representative. Two spots star David Collins, a co-founder of Scout Productions, which produces Bravo hit Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. Ads also feature the show's five cast members.

The spots will be accompanied by an extensive print, radio and direct-mail campaign, all produced by WPP Group's Ogilvy & Mather in New York. American Express plans to run the broadcast component on multiple networks.

Collins was a member of the Open program long before the series hit the airwaves last year. The ads focus on how he grew a small Boston-based production house to a more successful multi-faceted media company. He agreed to promote the advantages of the American Express service, which offers tools for small businesses, based on his past experience with the company.

In 2003 American Express spent $375 million on domestic ads, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus, a 30 percent increase over 2002.