I read with interest that fabled director Martin Scorsese directed a new American Express television spot that features longtime Scorcese collaborator Robert DeNiro. Apparently, Scorsese, DeNiro and other talent appearing in the new campaign, including Ellen Degeneres, all participated in the creative process. And its interesting the Scorsese would lend his directing hand to such a commercial effort. But the lines are blurring to what's a television ad, to what's product placement to what's a dramatic presentation and what's advertising. Certainly a television spot by its definition is advertising. But remember the BMW ads that appeared on the internet several years ago. They were really film shorts that starred BMW cars. Hey, they're even marketing these films on DVD. Fans are willing to pay for commercial messages. Yes. The lines are blurring.
I find it extraordinary that Amex, its agency and the creative team are all involved in the process. But it makes sense. Recently Amex received regulatory approval to issue bank-based credit cards. Until now American Express was locked out of issuing these types of cards. And accordingly has fallen behind what is perhaps still the hottest trend in cards — affinity cards. The new campaign, “My Life. My Card.” works nicely with the talent participating in these new spots — after all, it's their card, their life and their spot.
I haven't seen the spots yet. If you've seen one please drop me a note and let me know what you think of them.