American Express Dreams of Penguins

Jake Scott has provided American Express with a television commercial connected to the current interest in penguins sparked by The March of the Penguins and spin-offs). Marc and Stephan have a dream to go somewhere everyone isn’t. On a beach somewhere in the Southern hemisphere the anorak-wearing photographers set up their Nikon camera on a tripod. They’re hoping to catch themselves in the picture with marching penguins in the foreground. Only problem is that by the time they tiptoe to the right spot, hold up their thumbs, and wait for the camera’s timer, the penguins have almost marched right out of the picture. And to top it off, one of the photographers thinks he’s blinked again. “Long Live Dreams”, says American Express, promoting their travel, cards and financial services.

American Express Penguins

Photographers pose for American Express Penguin TV ad

Music for the penguins spot is the first verse of “Maggie May“, a traditional sailor’s shanty from Liverpool.

Oh, gather round you sailor boys,
And listen to my plea,
‘Cause when you’ve heard it you will pity me.
‘Cause I was a Goddamn fool,
In the port of Liverpool,
The first time that I came home from the sea.


The Penguins ad is part of a campaign developed at Ogilvy Worldwide by copywriter Josh Tavlin, art director Marc Klein, and agency producer Dena Lenard.

Media was handled by Carat.

Filming was shot by director Jake Scott via RSA Films with producer Jules Daly, Marjie Abrahams and Fran McGivern and director of photography Alex Barber.