At SXSW the past two years, AmEx promoted its social-networking Sync feature to the early-adopter set. It's now bringing the Sync message to the masses with TV commercials featuring the actor-comedian Aziz Ansari of "Parks and Recreation."
The Sync feature lets AmEx cardholders get discounts at online and offline stores by hooking their credit cards up to their social networks at americanexpress.com/sync and then carrying out a specific action on one of the social-networking services. On Twitter, for example, AmEx cardholders can get discounts credited to their statements by tweeting custom hashtags and making purchases at participating stores.
The 60-second TV spot, which will premiere during "The Daily Show" tonight, features Mr. Ansari trying to woo a woman he meets in a bar. After later scoping out her interests on her Facebook page, Mr. Ansari goes overboard on a shopping spree -- powered by Sync-enabled discounts -- for gifts that fit her hobbies.
AmEx says Mr. Ansari was a good fit for the Ogilvy-created commercials in part because of his huge following, which numbers more than 1.7 million on Twitter.
"Because the idea of syncing a card to social networks and having them create value for you is a novel and unique concept, we looked for someone with a unique brand of humor and a unique and big following," said Benjamin Stuart, VP-U.S. advertising and global agency relations for American Express.
When Mr. Ansari isn't getting paid by production companies or big corporations, he's going direct to consumers. Last week, he took a page from fellow comedian Louis C.K. and began offering a web comedy special that viewers can download or stream directly from his site for $5.