AmEx ad campaign was built around Roddick

Updated: August 31, 2005, 11:46 AM ET
By Darren Rovell | ESPN.com

American Express, please meet Gilles Muller.

The native of Luxembourg, ranked No. 68 in the world, just derailed your multi-million dollar U.S. Open advertising campaign with a straight-set victory over your endorser Andy Roddick.

The credit card company, a sponsor of the tournament, thought it had a safe bet in Roddick, who has reached the tournament's quarterfinals for the last four years.

Now that Roddick has lost, it will be interesting to see how the sponsor recovers. One American Express official said Tuesday night that it was too early to tell what would happen. An executive with PMK/HBH public relations, the company that is running the campaign, could not immediately be reached for comment.

This year's campaign was entitled, "Have you seen Andy's Mojo?"

In the spot, Roddick goes to sleep only to have his Mojo emerge out of his body and take his American Express card. His "Mojo" parties while Roddick tosses and turns in his bed. The advertisement then continues to the next day as Roddick hits balls into the net while playing with fellow American Mardy Fish.

"Mardy, do you ever feel like you are missing something?" Roddick asks him.

After Fish says no, a voiceover questions, "Will Andy get his Mojo back?"

American Express had the actor who played Andy's Mojo in the spots at the U.S. Open on Tuesday night. Nick Kroll, the 27-year-old who lives in the Union Square area of New York City, said he spent the night doing "random acts of mojo," including paying for food and buying fans drinks at the bar.

During the match, Kroll sat in a courtside box wearing a green American Express shirt and the cowboy hat that he wears in the commercial.

Before Roddick's loss, people that recognized Kroll from the commercials joked with him by asking why Roddick wasn't playing well now that his "Mojo" was in the stadium.

Joked Kroll: "The word was that I would be shot and killed if he loses."

Kroll added that he didn't know his schedule beyond Tuesday night, though he had plans to do some radio interviews.

Maybe those radio stations should book Gilles Muller instead.

Darren Rovell | email

ESPN.com Sports Business reporter