Amex's Ad Agency Asks Us To Remove Post, Threatens Future Business

An advertising agency that represents American Express took issue with my post yesterday complaining about my failed efforts to get a simple credit card. In the post, titled Damnit Amex, Give Me A Credit Card, I complained about the difficulty of someone in my particular demographic to get credit, and noted the usefulness of Credit Karma, a startup that gives people immediate access to their credit report.

Some users actually saw an ad for the Amex ZYNC card next to the post.

In an email to our sales team, the agency said “We found this on your site today, obviously not a good thing for AMEX or for ZYNC branding.”

I disagree. But let’s continue.

They added “Are you able to take this down from your site? If so, please do as ASAP.”

Nope. The sales team doesn’t have the authority or the ability to remove content from the site. And the punchline:

“If you are not able to monitor this more closely, we unfortunately will not be able to run with TechCrunch in the future.”

Ok. Let’s step back for a minute.

First of all, the agency in question should understand that the post was a significant net positive for American Express. Sure, I was complaining. But I also put American Express’ brand squarely in the center of things. There were a variety of credit cards that I was unable to get, but the Amex Starwood card was the one I wanted. I wanted it, and I couldn’t get it. Who doesn’t get how great that is for Amex?

Paleolithic* marketing morons who can’t think outside of a box, that’s who. The same kind of person that not only gets upset that their client is the center of attention, but then actually threatens to pull business if we don’t get our editorial in line with their agenda. This isn’t the Wall Street Journal, you know. We don’t like being told by others what we can and cannot write.

Despite the fact that we will certainly never do business with this agency again after this post, I won’t name them. Perhaps they can still save themselves and, someday, thank me.

* – Thanks to a reader for the clarification. Changed Neolithic to Paleolithic (this is why I love doing what I do): “Neolithic is not much of an insult. Neolithic culture is the last stage before starting to use metal. It doesn’t imply cavemen. Northern Europe had a neolithic culture just a few thousand years ago, and the Americas did till Europeans arrived. If you really want to insult someone, call them paleolithic. That would include some pretty apelike individuals.”