If you grew up in the 1970s, you remember Karl Malden as the public face for American Express, showing viewers a series of terrifying vacation calamities that could have been prevented if only the American tourists had bought the right brand of travelers cheques.
The Ogilvy & Mather ad campaign burned the "don't leave home without them" tagline so deeply into our memories, it's easy to forget that Malden actually narrated very few television ads for the company's line of charge cards. AmEx adjusted the tag line to "don't leave home without it," as celebrities touted the cards' security features by asking, "do you know me?"
Even though public figures like Mel Blanc, Jim Fixx and John Cleese touted the American Express card, most members of Generation X will swear they remember Karl Malden appeared in all of those ads. It just proves that a great ad campaign can influence our lives beyond the end of the commercial break.
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