AmEx Open

Small-business owners typically see themselves as the vanguard of economic progress. So, this spot for American Express Open — the AmEx unit that caters to small companies — is in sync with its target audience’s thinking. Energized by a bugle’s increasingly jazzed-up interpretation of reveille, the spot builds up to the declaration, “Reviving the economy means reinventing the way we do business. Here’s to the owners showing the way.” An onscreen tagline adds the imperative, “Start Booming.” With its video of telegenic entrepreneurs and its “Here’s to” tip of the hat to them, is the commercial laying the flattery on too thick? Ha! That can’t be done. Meanwhile, the aura of resolute energy will come across as a welcome counterpoint to the general gloom about the economy and is in tune with the can-do sensibility that small-business owners regard as their own. The spot isn’t Pollyannaish about the economy; its voiceover explicitly acknowledges the need for economic revival. But it will create a rapport with its viewers by tapping into the upbeat lobe of their business brains. –Mark Dolliver