Amex Pays Conan One Million $$

Have you seen the 2 minute epic advertisement for American Express starring Conan O’Brien? It plays more like a short movie than the typical ad. I’ll admit it is entertaining, but still the whole time I was watching it I couldn’t help thinking, “this must have been expensive!” It was. Yesterday I heard that Amex paid Conan $1,000,000 for the spot that not only features their card, but plugs his new show. I can’t begin to imagine how much the filming of the commercial cost.

Some people are happy about the über commercial noting that the fact that Amex has significantly increased their advertising budget points to a recovering economy where businesses can afford to market once again.

The rest of us (while we agree that business spending is good for the economy) might also wonder how Amex can afford such lavish spending. Is it right that a credit card company should blatantly spend over $1,000,000 for a single ad? You know who is actually paying for it—and how it’s being paid for. The Amex Black Card carries an annual fee of $2,500! Amex Platinum = $450,  Gold = $175, Standard Green = $95. There are more choices and of course you can’t compare cards by annual fee alone. But the point is that American Express is making a fine little profit off it’s deck of credit cards.

For perspective look at the Coors Credit Union Visa cards. The card is accepted wherever Visa is accepted. It has a rewards option and NO ANNUAL Fee.

Yes, the Coors Credit Union Visa is different from Amex in prinicipal. American Express offers a true credit card that must be paid off. The Visa card is catergorized as more of a loan and gives you the option to pay the balance in full or partially (interest will accrue). However, Coors Credit Union options to offer it’s members affordable tools that are needed for your financial lifestyle without pinching you for profits or using funds to pay for costly advertising.

So as you sit back, relax and enjoy the mini dramas of Conan and Amex, just keep in mind where the dollars came from to pay for all that.


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