American Express Launches Apple Pay Spot Featuring Classic Ads

Jerry Seinfeld, Tina Fey Appear in New Spot

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American Express is debuting its first spot featuring mobile-payment service Apple Pay today. The ad, called "Retrospective," brings back some of AmEx's classic spots, along with famous cardmembers like Jerry Seinfeld and Tina Fey for a mashup that draws on the brand's history.

"We leveraged the heritage of our iconic imagery with some of our most notable members," said Allison Silver, VP-marketing at American Express. "It really signals the future of American Express with a nod towards our fun past."

The ad, created by Ogilvy, aims to show that while the technology you pay with may be changing, American Express' safety and security is timeless.

"What you've always expected from American Express, you can continue to expect, regardless of the form or fashion that you pay with," said Ms. Silver.

The ad will debut during the premiere of "The Walking Dead" tonight on AMC and air during the NBA All-Star Game next week on TNT, among other high-profile media placements, Ms. Silver said. Mindshare is AmEx's media partner.

Ms. Silver declined to reveal the budget for the push but said Apple Pay will be featured in AmEx's marketing throughout the year. "Apple Pay is certainly a priority message for us this year," said Ms. Silver, who added that the media plan has not been finalized.

AmEx spent $2.19 billion on U.S. measured-media in 2013, according to the Ad Age DataCenter.

The firm joins other financial companies, including Capital One, MasterCard, Chase, Wells Fargo and Bank of America, with spots plugging the service. While those brands launched their ads late last year, AmEx chose to hold back its Apple Pay push while it promoted Small Business Saturday, which falls the Saturday following Thanksgiving. "We thought it made more sense to stagger those messages," said Ms. Silver.

AmEx has received "encouraging feedback" from its Apple Pay users, and card members who try the service often use it again, said Tony Prentice, VP-mobile payments and products, who added that AmEx is still in the early days of its partnership with Apple Pay. AmEx does not publish specific numbers on Apple Pay signups, he said.

On a conference call last week, Apple CEO Tim Cook said, "Apple Pay makes up more than two out of three dollars spent on purchases using contactless payment across the three major U.S. card networks," referring to American Express, Visa and MasterCard.

The company focuses on what it can do differently with Apple Pay, which is also offered by two of its major competitors -- Visa and MasterCard. AmEx allows you to view your full transaction history through Apple Pay, rather than just your tap-to-pay purchases like most other card providers. With AmEx, you also have the option to pay with membership rewards points when you use Apple Pay at select merchants like McDonald's.

"This is the start of a great way to help our customers pay more easily, but at the same time evolve our other services and move into the new digital era," said Mr. Prentice.

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