Advertiser: American Express
Agency: Ogilvy & Mather, New York
Challenge: Give American Express' green card a desirous quality to help it compete with the more widely used Visa card.
The Ads: Billboards in Los Angeles and New York show famous--and a few not so famous--individuals and the year they got an American Express card against the background of a green American Express card. Among the 14 personalities on parade in Los Angeles are television producer Stephen Bochco, actor Edward James Olmos, boxer Oscar De La Hoya and rap artist Ice Cube.
For the Record
Los Angeles Times Thursday January 21, 1999 Home Edition Business Part C Page 6 Financial Desk 2 inches; 38 words Type of Material: Correction
American Express ad--A review of an American Express ad appearing in the Jan. 14 edition incorrectly reported the year in which Lee Clow of TBWA/Chiat/Day became a card member. The year is 1982, nine years before TBWA/Chiat/Day handled American Express' ad business.
Comment: With these ads, American Express is trying to roll back the clock to a time when it meant something to get a credit card. With credit cards available to every college student, it's hard to view the green American Express card as something to aspire to (the platinum card, maybe). Consumers might well question the necessity of an American Express card if they examine the ads. Tommy Lasorda, for example, waited until 1996 to get his card. And Lee Clow, the creative director of TBWA Chiat/Day, got his card in 1992. That's the year after the agency briefly handled the American Express advertising account. $$
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