First it was those screwy Credit Report commercials with the scurvy rock band forced into slavery because they didn't check their (evidently) collective credit report. Now it's American Express and their commercials showing snotty German businessmen scoffing derisively at the goofy American because he dares to pay for lunch with a credit card embossed with a superhero image. Tragically the business venture collapses because of idiot's unprofessional credit card, which suggests the business may not have been on very sound footing in the first place and/or that the snotty Germans are full of crap.
In fact the message I take from the ad is to GET the credit card with Goofy or Elvis Costello on it, because if that alone can kill a deal, the guys on the other side of the table probably aren't going to be around for the long haul anyhow. If it wasn't the credit card, it would have been the shoes, the tie, the haircut, pick the social status indicator of choice.
In fact, there are a wide variety of imaginary social faux pas that could probably be solved by switching brands. The snotty German businessman sees a grocery bag with "Costco" on it and derisively stomps out, so the hapless shlub starts shopping at "Le Expensive Store." Or the snotty German smells cheap shampoo in the American's hair and snickers, forcing our man to buy something more expensive. I could create and solve these imaginary problems all day!