Bowen Reunites With AmEx

NEW YORK — Gordon Bowen of American Express “Portraits” fame has been reunited with the financial-services giant to help reinvigorate the brand.

Bowen reconnected with the company last fall when John Hayes, evp, global advertising and brand management at American Express, hired him to create a corporate “feel-good” film, sources said.

The film was so well-received that Hayes indicated to his agency, Ogilvy & Mather, that he wanted Bowen working on a new campaign for the AmEx brand, sources said. Last week, Ogilvy said it had “recruited” Bowen for a “project.”

But sources said Bowen is more than just a freelancer on an assignment. Not only did he conceive of the concept driving the new campaign, he is also overseeing production of the work at Ogilvy, sources said. Rick Boyko, co-president and chief creative officer at Ogilvy, has stepped aside as lead creative on the campaign.

An Ogilvy representative said that it’s not unusual for Boyko to delegate creative responsibilities on certain accounts. Bowen, Boyko and Hayes could not be reached for comment.

A former Ogilvy creative director, Bowen has enlisted for the effort the creative team of art director Adrian Pulfer and copywriter Lynn D’Angel, who worked with him on the “Portraits” campaign in the ’80s. Ogilvy senior partners, executive creative directors David Apicella and Jeroen Bours are also involved, as well as McCann-Erickson’s Momentum unit, which already works for AmEx.

The new campaign, which will replace the current ads themed, “Do more,” is expected to break in the second quarter. Last week, Bowen was overseeing a shoot for the new AmEx spots, which are being directed by Leslie Dektor from Dektor Films in Hollywood, Calif. Six to seven new spots are on tap, sources said.

As a former cd at Ogilvy, Bowen helped craft the award-winning “Portraits” campaign, which featured AmEx card-carrying personalities like Tip O’Neill and Ella Fitzgerald photographed by Annie Leibovitz.

In the ’90s, Bowen served as ecd at Young & Rubicam in New York. Before that, he was at McCann in New York, where he was chief creative officer globally on the Coca-Cola account.

Recently, Bowen has freelanced from his home in Salt Lake City on assignments for companies such as UPromise and Digitas