–Dan Kelly, Attorney

Every once in a while, a really solid advertising campaign comes along that stands out among its peers.  There is obviously no accounting for taste, but one characteristic that attracts me is timelessness — timelessness as opposed to trendiness, whether that be embodied in a gag, a joke, a celebrity endorsement, or some other hook that loses about ninety-five percent of its effectiveness after one viewing.

I think American Express has hit on a timeless campaign in its “The Faces of Charge” campaign, where it uses everyday objects to portray sad faces and happy faces, like these:

The voiceover on the television ads suggests that an American Express charge card can take the pain out of some inconvenient consumer experiences, like the breakdown of recently purchased products, theft, or traveling.  Enhancing the parade of faces is the spartan accompaniment of Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1, which subtly changes mood with the faces.  Less is more.  (It is almost always more.)  The television ads end with a simple and direct presentation of the charge card products against a black background above the tagline, “Don’t take chances, take charge.”  The “take charge.” then morphs to “TAKECHARGE.COM.”  Very well played.  This campaign will likely stand the test of time.

The Inspiration Room has a post on this campaign, as well as video of one of the commercials.