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AmEx ad gets Conan to plug Indian cloth

Talk show host Conan O'Brien has featured in a new American Express commercial.

Written by Agencies | Boston |
November 9, 2010 4:08:48 pm

Talk show host Conan O’Brien,who returns to late night television today with his new show,has featured in a new American Express commercial in which he is shown taking a trip to India in search of the finest materials to make curtains for his new show.

The commercial plays on O’Brien’s reputation of being meticulous about every detail of his programmes and shows him travelling across Jaipur in an auto-rickshaw as well as atop an elephant to get the right cloth for his curtains.

O’Brien travelled to Jaipur a month ago to film the two-minute commercial over three days. The talk show host is speaking in Hindi throughout the commercial.

The advertisement begins with O’Brien walking around a crowded Jaipur market asking vendors about ‘resham’ silk cloth from Banaras. He then buys spools of thread from a vendor named ‘Doolichand.’ O’Brien hugs Doolichand and asks him in Hindi,”Aapke dada ji kaise hain” (How is your grandfather).

An exhausted O’Brien uses the ‘charkha’ (spinning wheel) and a loom to weave the fabric. He then stomps on berries,making red dye for the cloth.

He indulges in a gossip session with local ladies as he stands waist deep in water,washing and dying the material.

Perched on a ladder,he then hangs the red cloth from long poles,exclaiming “yeh hui na baat,” as he waives to a group of onlookers.

The spot then flashes-forward and reveals O’Brien admiring with great pride a stage curtain – one that he took pain-staking measures to craft to meet his standards – before he walks on to a stage for his performance.

Credit-card company American Express began airing the commercial yesterday,the same day that O’Brien’s new late-night comedy show ‘Conan’ began airing on Time Warner’s channel TBS. Fans have been waiting his return since O’Brien lost his high-profile perch as host of NBC’s “The Tonight Show” earlier this year.

According to the Wall Street Journal,American Express paid O’Brien more than USD 1 million to do the commercial.

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