An American man and woman, apparently partners in a small business, are treating three Germans to a business lunch. A deal is struck and the American man offers to pay for lunch, pulling out his credit card, a card with a superhero of some sort on it. The Germans immediately switch from English to their own language and begin making fun of the man's card, calling it a "Kindergarten card".
"Does anyone else find this awkward?" the German woman asks and one of her team says what amounts to, "Let's get out of here." After they leave, the American woman, who apparently understands German, pulls out her more adult American Express Gold card and says, "Let me get this."
This commercial offended me the first time I saw it. It's insulting to both Americans and Germans, and here's why. First, it implies that American individuality and small business is immature, naive and unprofessional, and second, that Germans are rude, snobby and of "group mind". The small business owner probably couldn't afford to treat these people to a power lunch, but he does and for that they should be a little more understanding. Who cares what picture is on a credit card? It's the credit that matters. His card isn't up to your standards? It was when you were ordering that steak and lobster, Arschleck!
What's really under attack here is individuality. This commercial perfectly demonstrates how far down the yuppie mentality of the 80s has taken us in the past two decades. God forbid we exhibit any signs of not promoting the group mind, because, by not conforming, we say that we are free-thinkers. It has been proven throughout history that when a fascist regime is threatening to take over, the first people to be discredited (and often eliminated) are the free-thinkers. Anything that doesn't support the group mind must be done away with: writers, artists, musicians, and anyone who dares to express individuality or live according to their own truth.
Besides, all it says anyway is that people are spending money they don't have, which is one of the reasons this country is in so much trouble in the first place. Our family might be broke right now, but at least we don't have credit card bills -- we cut ours up six years ago, one of the best decisions we ever made. I can't tell you how many people have actually attacked us verbally for our stance on credit cards. People are threatened by this and I have a hard time understanding why. But this post has gone off-topic.
Wasn't there a commercial not too long ago in which Jerry Seinfeld was promoting an American Express Superman card? American Express needs to seriously rethink the unspoken message of their latest commercial and American small business owners, as well as Germans, should think about how they are being profiled. In a nut shell American Express is saying to American small business owners:
"If you don't have one of our Gold Cards, they're going to laugh at you. The big kids won't want to play with you."How insulting.