Familiar, New Faces Vie for AmEx Open

Final pitches slated for late June

The American Express Open review pits familiar roster players against a trio of newcomers.

The former is represented by incumbent Crispin Porter + Bogusky and Ogilvy & Mather, longtime lead agency on the flagship AmEx brand. Crispin has handled Open since 2007, but Ogilvy helped launch the brand back in 2002 and was the lead shop before Crispin.

Sources identified the new faces in the pitch as Wieden + Kennedy, Droga5 and Leo Burnett.

The five contenders have been briefed and are preparing for final presentations, which will take place in two weeks at AmEx’s headquarters in New York, according to sources. Pile + Co. in Boston is managing the process.

Open’s media spending exceeded $36 million last year, down from $52 million in 2010, according to Nielsen. Those figures don’t include online outlays.

Although Burnett hasn’t worked on Open in the past, fellow Publicis Groupe shop Digitas handles customer relationship marketing on the brand and collaborated with Crispin on the “Small Business Saturday” initiative that Open bowed in 2010. Last month, that effort won a bronze Effie in the financial services, products and services category.

The finalists declined to comment and Pile referred questions to AmEx, which also had no comment on the shops competing for the business. 

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