American Express Kicks Off New Corporate Campaign

NEW YORK — American Express kicks off a new corporate ad campaign Friday crafted by Gordon Bowen, a former creative director at Ogilvy & Mather who co-created the company?s “Portraits” campaign in the ’80s. The TV and print effort, which replaces the tag “Do More” with “Make Life Rewarding,” uses iconic people and an original song to unify the company?s various business units.

Earlier this year, the financial-services giant enlisted Bowen to work on the campaign with its long-time agency, Ogilvy [Adweek, Feb. 11]. McCann-Erickson’s Momentum unit is providing event marketing support for the campaign.

The TV portion of the $100 million campaign begins with a series of nine 30- to 60-second spots, two of which are “anthem” creatives showcasing vignettes about different interactions with AmEx. One ad focuses on American Express customers, while a second features actual AmEx employees and financial advisors. Both use the original song, “I Am Free,” recorded by Alana Davis.

The remaining vignettes will be spin-offs of the montages featured in the “anthem” spots. One, for instance, depicts new parents working with their financial advisor to plan the next 18 years of family finances.

The print campaign, set to debut in early April, reunites the financial services giant with photographer Annie Leibovitz, who shot the award-winning “Portraits” campaign, which featured AmEx card-carrying personalities like Tip O’Neil and Ella Fitzgerald. This time around, the executions will feature pairs or groups of individuals whose relationship to one another fosters successes or inspiration. The first pair will be director Ron Howard and producer Brian Grazer, who together form Imagine Entertainment, and are responsible for box office successes such as “A Beautiful Mind” and “Apollo 13.”

Last year, American Express spent about $230 million on U.S. measured media, per CMR.