Sunday, October 26, 2008
American Express - Tina Fey & Martin Scorsese
American Express has been using celebrity endorsements in their advertising for a while. Along with their magazine ads, they have a series of tv spots featuring celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres, Wes Anderson, M. Night Shyamalan, Robert Deniro and Diane von Furstenberg. The commercials all match their subjects pretty well – Ellen’s is funny, Diane’s is ethereal and pretty, and M. Night Shyamalan’s makes no sense.
But my personal favorite is a fairly recent one featuring Tina Fey and Martin Scorsese. This is primarily because I love Tina Fey and will watch anything she’s in, but even aside from that, I think the commercial is legitimately funny, especially if you watch the extended scene. Basically, Fey runs into Scorsese at the airport, and he invites her for a chat in the first-class lounge. Alas, she’s flying coach, and has to plead with the airline attendant to let her into the lounge, finally succeeding when she flashes her American Express card. Unfortunately when she finally sits down with the director it turns out he isn’t offering her a script but a time-share in Boca Raton.
The best thing about this commercial is actually Scorsese, who turns out to be funny and natural in front of the camera. The time-share gets worse and worse the longer he describes it, and he sells the self-mockery perfectly. American Express has done a great job with this one; when thousands of people are actively seeking out the “extended cut” of a television advertisement, the company must be doing something right. You can even almost forget that they’re trying to sell you something – until the end title pops up saying, “Need better travel advice?”, followed by their website address. The commercial doesn’t make me want my own American Express, but it certainly makes me have positive associations with the brand.