AMEX GLOBAL MAKEOVER KICKS OFF IN U.S., U.K.;CAMPAIGN MAY HIT $200 MILLION, COULD INCLUDE COMPANY'S FIRST INFOMERCIALS

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American Express Co. will spend an estimated $50 million on its global campaign breaking today, but the total marketing expenditure may exceed $200 million as it's implemented world-wide.

AmEx will take a broadly integrated route to introduce its retooled image as a global provider of charge and credit cards, travel services and financial advice (AA, June 10). It's even considering direct response TV and infomercials for the first time, said John Hayes, exec VP-global marketing.

`HUGE OPPORTUNITIES'

"People are harder to reach through TV than ever before, and there are huge opportunities to reach them in other channels-from computers and the Internet to direct response and long-format TV," Mr. Hayes said.

He wouldn't be specific, but said the next few months will reveal several new marketing directions for AmEx.

Ogilvy & Mather, New York, created the new campaign, themed "American Express helps you do more." But Mr. Hayes said O&M will work with Young & Rubicam, agency for the separate $5 million financial services account, to integrate creative. Insiders say Y&R's role in the global campaign could expand significantly.

One thing AmEx hasn't figured out: how charge card pitchman Jerry Seinfeld will be used in the future, if at all.

Mr. Hayes said O&M created one spot in the global campaign featuring the comedian; a final decision has not been made about using it.

U.K. DEBUT IN LATE JUNE

The advertising breaks in the U.K. late this month and will start in other countries later this year, linking AmEx's services with images of consumers playing, working and planning for the future.

Two 30-second spots and one :60 are included in the introductory campaign; separate commercials will be created centering on the specific business areas of charge and credit cards, and travel and financial advice.

"Escape more..... save more.... whatever more" are subthemes that will be expanded on in future spots. Newspaper ads for the general campaign begin this week; an extensive magazine schedule kicks off late this month.

AmEx continues to stuff its pipeline with new products. Last week, it introduced another co-branded credit card, the ITT Sheraton ClubMiles Card From American Express. It joins AmEx's successful Delta SkyMiles credit card.

The revolving credit card appears to be one of AmEx's major areas of expansion, but Mr. Hayes said the commitment to its charge card remains strong.

"The trust and security people associate with American Express were built upon the green charge card," he said, "and we're building upon that, and we'll continue to support it."

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