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Don’t Touch That Dial!

Alyssa makes a good point in her blog about TV-Turnoff Week – if you don’t want to turn it off, why not support better programming? Me, I’d like to support the cause for better commercials. Like Alyssa, the only cable I have is the one running from the bunny ears on the top of my TV to the plug in the back. Four channels. (Five, if the weather’s right and the Brooklyn-based Asian shopping channel comes in.) So I see a lot of the same commercials.

Alyssa makes a good point in her blog about TV-Turnoff Week – if you don’t want to turn it off, why not support better programming? Me, I’d like to support the cause for better commercials. Like Alyssa, the only cable I have is the one running from the bunny ears on the top of my TV to the plug in the back. Four channels. (Five, if the weather’s right and the Brooklyn-based Asian shopping channel comes in.) So I see a lot of the same commercials. Over and over. And over. Mostly, I make fun of them.

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Among the lot are the American Express spots (My Life! My Card!) featuring Seinfeld, DeNiro, M. Night Shyamalan, etc. All great, creative folks. But I can never shake the feeling that the creative impresarios in Amex’s manicured, on-brand commercials are sell outs. Despite the fun personal touches, each celebrity sounds like he (or she, Ellen DeGeneres) is reading from the same script. (My token schtick! Amex’s repetitive script!) Even when a new one debuts, you’ve pretty much already seen it.

That was how I felt until I saw this spot, with Wes Anderson. It’s smart, irreverent and totally entertaining. More Anderson than Amex. Granted, I’m bias: I own every Anderson film. His eye for detail and off-beat pacing is unmistakable. So it shouldn’t surprise me that he put his own stamp on the Amex brand. Nice work, Wes. And to the creative directors over at Amex, smart move letting Anderson blend his directorial skills into the format.

And, lo and behold, he’s not the only one…

Amex is jumping on the customer co-creation bandwagon, asking its users to create their own mini-homages to the Amex brand by filming 15-second videos about how Amex betters their lives. The “show us your 15 seconds” campaign can be found here. Now, if only we could see some of those customer spots on TV, and less of DeNiro quasi-ruminatively roaming Tribeca. Enough.

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