Slogan Doctor: American Express - 'Realise the potential'

American Express's new slogan was introduced early in 2009 in Mexico, arriving in the UK in the autumn.

by John Morrish
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

The line came from focus group research, in which customers repeatedly used the word 'potential' to describe the card's elaborate benefits, which include priority concert tickets, a 24-hour international helpline, and reward points. So the phrase 'Realise the potential' primarily means 'Realise the potential (of the card)'. But 'the potential' could also imply 'your potential', something else AmEx explored in research, discovering that its customers are increasingly interested in personal fulfilment and self-improvement. The campaign that launched the slogan addressed both aspects. TV ads highlighted AmEx's lesser-known services (rescuing lost teddy bears, finding doctors who speak your language), while print ads exhorted likely customers to 'be a traveller, not a tourist'. To 'realise' potential is to be aware of it, but also to bring it to fruition. The faint ambiguity gives the slogan a bit of life, but it remains stubbornly prosaic.

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