Ogilvy Journeys to the Oscars for American Express

By Erik Oster 

Ogilvy & Mather launched an Oscar campaign for American Express featuring four unlikely success stories told in 30-second ads.

In one of the spots, Mindy Kaling describes being told as an aspiring actress that “…they don’t put girls who look like me on TV” and that she should try for a friend or sidekick roll instead of going for the lead. “I guess they can’t say that anymore,” she says near the conclusion of the spot, which ends with the tagline, “the journey never stops.” Other ads feature Aretha Franklin describing her journey from being a nine-year-old choir girl who would have to hold on to the microphone for confidence to the Queen of Soul, GoPro founder Nick Woodman and chef Natalie Young. Young describes her troubles with addiction, making it a particularly affective spot as her story details a bleak low-point. The campaign also includes a social media crowdfunding effort to support a documentary on the life of ballerina Misty Copeland, telling her own unlikely success story.

The campaign hopes to win over viewers by showing those who have overcome adversity and arrived at their definition of success, with the implication being that American Express was there to help them along the way. “While many associated American Express with achievement or having arrived at success, Card Members know that American Express is really about supporting them along their journey to what they define as success, as they persevere in what’s truly valuable,” the brand explained in a press release. “That even in the face of failure, they find the grit and determination to take that next step on their journey and pursue that next goal.”