AmEx Channels Brandi Carlile in Cinematic Spot Where Every Scene Is Shot From Behind

The company has your back

Illustrating its promise to back customers over the long haul, American Express' latest commercial shows folks living their lives and pursuing their dreams—and all of them are filmed from behind. 

Created by mcgarrybowen, "Right Behind You" launched Monday during ESPN's coverage of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, where AmEx is a major sponsor.

Right Behind You | American Express

"This year's work is designed to create an emotional connection for the American Express brand, for both prospects and card members," AmEx says in a statement. "It gives a unique perspective and highlights a variety of people at various stages of life." 

Fast-moving images evoke a range of feels. We see a wedding, office life, a young mom cuddling her newborn, packed high-school halls, kids diving into a pool, D.J. antics at a club, and, ominously, a doctor hurrying into a waiting room (we never find out what news he delivers). 

So, it's a montage of seemingly random, very human moments, suggesting the ebb and flow of modern existence, inferring that through it all, the ups and down and in-betweens, "AmEx understands what's important, and backs people throughout their lives," the company says.

Thanks to Prettybird director Max Malkin's deft touch, the ad comes off as affecting, even evocative, but never creepy. Music also plays a key role, as the minute-long journey begins and ends with violin performance, while the intervening scenes unfold to a sumptuous orchestral take on Brandi Carlile's "The Joke" (twice a Grammy winner). 

Last year, AmEx earned praise for its campaign starring Hamilton singer/composer Lin-Manuel Miranda, which was also timed to the company's presence at the Open. Miranda's considerable charisma carried the day, and his story vividly encapsulated what AmEx has to offer.

Clearly, "Right Behind You," takes a different creative tack, though it basically relays the same message. While having a relatable celebrity upfront is always a plus, AmEx deserves credit this time around for backing a stylistically bold approach and telling its story from an unexpected point of view.

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David Gianatasio
David Gianatasio is senior editor at Clio Awards.