“Do you know me?”
It’s one of the great questions in advertising history. The theme of the highly successful 1975 ad campaign for American Express and its brilliance can be traced to David Ogilvy.
Few would argue, however – including David Ogilvy – that anyone has had more of a lasting influence on the advertising of American Express than Aldo Papone.
In 1994, Ogilvy & Mather honored Papone with an award named for its founder – the first time in its history it had been awarded to a client. In a letter to Papone, Ogilvy wrote: “Dear Aldo… I hope you will understand the significance of this… I have never seen a client contribute so much to our work.”
A central figure at American Express for nearly 40 years, Papone is credited with elevating American Express advertising to world-class levels in the late 1980s. In addition to the “Do You Know Me” campaigns he oversaw include “Membership Has Its Privileges,” “Portraits” – featuring photographs by Annie Leibowitz – and “Don’t Leave Home Without It.” All are recognized among the top 100 campaigns of the 20th century.
Born and educated in Europe, Papone came to America as a young man, beginning his career with Macy’s in 1956. He joined American Express in 1974 and in 1989 was elected Chairman and CEO of American Express Travel Related Services. Papone served on the Board of American Express and the Board of American Express Bank. He is currently a Senior Advisor to the company.
Papone also served on the Boards of many other companies, including The Body Shop, Guess?, Hyperion (now Oracle), Lotus Development Corporation (now part of IBM), Springs Industries, Warnaco and The William Carter Company. He consulted on branding and marketing strategies with Accenture, Mary Kay and, for 13 years, Xerox.
Papone is currently Chairman Emeritus and an active member of the Board of Trustees of the Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) in New York City, an organization he has served for 30 years, including 14 years as Co-Chairman. He has been instrumental in developing the marketing and advertising strategies for HSS, the #1 hospital for orthopedics in the nation.
A popular speaker on branding, marketing and leadership, Papone became a first-time author in 2005 at the age of 73. He followed his first book, The Power of the Obvious: Notes from 50 Years in Corporate America, with a second in 2012: The Power of Reinvention: Leading with Courage and Conviction in Turbulent Times.
Papone has wide-ranging cultural interests and is especially devoted to 19th Century Opera. He and his wife Sandra live in Greenwich, Connecticut.