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AmEx rebrands with first work from McGarryBowen

By Published on .

American Express is moving to modernize its venerable brand with a focus on consumers who balance doing work with living life, according to the company. It is rolling out two new taglines, "Don't Live Life Without It" and "Don't Do Business Without It," to illustrate its new positioning. Its most recent campaign used the theme, "My Life, My Card."

It's the first work for AmEx from Dentsu-owned McGarryBowen, which supplanted Ogilvy as the financial marketer's lead creative agency last year. In a series of spots, AmEx shows itself supporting consumers juggling different sectors of their lives—a young entreprenurial dad working from home with an infant, for example, or a couple accompanying their daughter to see her favorite band play. AmEx recently conducted a global study that found that more than half of people say their lives intertwine personal and professional responsibilities.

"It's really our customers' collective stories—we're in this together," says Elizabeth Rutledge, who has been with AmEx for nearly three decades and was promoted to chief marketing officer in February. "They're leading these vibrant, interesting, complicated and complex lives and it's important that they can count on American Express to always have their back." The brand has been known for a variety of offerings, from Small Business Saturday to personal cards, Rutledge adds. The new platform is meant to pull everything together.

The new work rolls out on Monday and will include a series of 10 TV spots that are 15, 30 and 60 seconds long as well as outdoor advertising in transit hubs across U.S. In May, AmEx will give local artists an opportunity to share their work on some billboards as well. In the next few months, the campaign will arrive in markets such as Australia, Canada and Japan. Endorsers Tina Fey, Lin Manuel Miranda and Pharrell Williams will appear in future marketing.

"They're living that hybrid life," she says.

AmEx also worked with Ogilvy on international markets, Pentagram on logo efforts, Mindshare on media buying, and Digitas on digital advertising.

Rutledge declined to say how much AmEx is spending on the new marketing, but said the budget "is on par for the scope of what we're doing." In 2016, AmEx spent $469.4 million on measured media in the U.S., according to Ad Age's Datacenter.

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