American Express has expanded its creative work with Dentsumcgarrybowen to all international markets, ending an almost 60-year relationship with Ogilvy, Campaign US has learned.
American Express has been consolidating its creative account under Dentsumcgarrybowen since 2017, when it handed its global brand and US creative accounts to the agency without a formal review. Its goal was to put all of its creative work under one agency, but at the time, Dentsumcgarrybowen did not have a footprint in certain markets, so Ogilvy retained some creative duties internationally.
Now, American Express is adding five more international markets to its relationship Dentsumcgarrybowen, again without a formal review, shifting all of its international creative duties under the agency. The transition is expected to be complete in early 2021.
Ogilvy declined to comment. Dentsu did not respond to requests for comment.
Ogilvy has worked with American Express since 1962. The companies have partnered on iconic campaigns, from “Don’t Live Life Without It,” which ran from 1975 through the mid-1990s, to the more recent “Pay It Plan It” campaign starring actress and comedian Tina Fey. Ogilvy retains American Express’ PR account.
Gordon Bowen, co-founder and chairman of Mcgarrybowen, worked on the American Express account as an executive at Ogilvy. Dentsu merged with Mcgarrybowen outside of Japan in May.
American Express spends roughly US$400 million on media globally, with around $300 million in the US, according to global pitch consultant R3. In 2018, American Express ended another long-term relationship, handing its media planning and buying duties to UM after 20 years with Mindshare.
The shifts at American Express reflect a larger trend among marketers to move away from long-term AOR relationships and consolidate more duties under a single agency or holding company.