Amex putting Seinfeld and Superman online

Amex putting Seinfeld and Superman online.
This is a brilliant move by American Express, a company known for marketing innovations. The story, as reported in AdAge, is that Amex will produce 5 minute segments with a live Jerry Seinfeld and an animated Superman and make them available on their Website. The idea is to attract young men, something Amex thinks is useless via television. Amex chief marketing officer John Hayes says they’re calling them “Seinfeld Webisodes” and that American Express likes the Internet.

Mr. Hayes said American Express has dramatically altered its marketing communications strategies and continues to place ever more emphasis on the emerging technologies, such as the Web, that have changed audience consumption patterns.

“Why the Web?” he asked. “Because it has already proven to be a primary [audience and customer] acquisition channel for the future.”

Mr. Hayes was critical of the speed and effectiveness with which TV has adapted — or failed to adapt — to new market realities and indicated his company has made a fundamental shift away from that medium.

“As the current 2003-04 television season got under way in September,” he explained, “it became apparent to the networks and the advertisers that something was amiss, if not simply missing young men. … The bottom line is that the traditional network television business is in enormous transition. The next-generation media consumer will redefine the new rules even before they are written, leaving marketers and communications companies more challenged than ever before.”

He said that in 1994 American Express devoted nearly 80% of its advertising media-buying budget to TV. Today, 10 years later, company ad spending for TV has fallen to 35% of its media-buying budget.

“We have moved out of the ‘buying’ world and [have] entered the world of content and channel integration in a significant way,” he said.

This is only the beginning, folks.

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