Amazon’s released a funny new ad for the Kindle. But it’s part of a larger real-world story that makes it even more interesting. In July of 2010, Amazon’s CEO was being interviewed by the New York Times. He was making a point about the Kindle’s low price — at a time when the cheapest Kindle cost $139. “At $139, if you’re going to read by the pool, some people might spend more than that on a swimsuit and sunglasses,” he told the newspaper. And two months later, Amazon released an ad which made the exact same point.
“Excuse me,” says a befuddled young man at a beach resort. He’s trying to read his iPad, and he has a question for the woman next to him, in a bikini. “How are you reading that, in this light?”
“It’s a Kindle,” replies actress Anna Zielinski casually, adding almost as an afterthought: “$139.” She smiles an enormous smile, and then says: “I actually paid more for these sunglasses.”
“Amazon’s New Kindle Ad Attacks the iPad!” I wrote on my blog in September of 2010. And at the time, that was the Kindle’s biggest advantage over an iPad: you could still read your Kindle in the bright sunlight. But now it’s 17 months later, and Amazon’s launched their own color-screen tablet device. (And it costs less than half of what an iPad costs). So two weeks ago, Amazon released a clever sequel to their first ad which updates the poolside conversation, and makes the same point.
“Hey, excuse me — that’s the new Kindle, isn’t it! $79 dollars?”
“Best way to read. Even in sunlight.”
“Yeah, but I mean, if you want to watch movies, or surf the web…”
“I’ve got a Kindle Fire for that.” (The woman nods to where her two children are playing with two Kindle Fire tablets)
“Three Kindles. That’s gotta be expensive.”
“Not really. Together, they’re still less than that.” (The woman in the bikini looks disdainfully at the man’s iPad).
And there’s one more line, just to make sure viewers don’t miss the fact that the iPad-owning man was completely shot down. “Someone sitting here?” he asks the woman in the bikini.
“My husband,” she replies….
You can watch the whole ad on the Kindle’s official page at YouTube (YouTube.com/Kindle ) In fact, soon you may only be able to watch it there, since I’m guessing Amazon may never broadcast that ad again. In fact, years from now it may be remembered only as an artifact in the great war of the tablets. Because Tuesday, Barnes and Noble announced a discounted color, touchscreen Nook which costs $199 — the exact same price as the Kindle Fire tablets. (And they’ve also reduced the price of their older Nook Color devices to just $169.)
Amazon may not want to broadcast an ad about how cheap their tablets are — when their competitor’s just released a new tablet that’s even cheaper!