More Strange Songs in Amazon’s Kindle Ads

Dog licking a Kindle from Amazon TV ad

Ad: Zest
Song: “Lover’s Cravings” by Bibo

Amazon is actually giving this song away free — just point your browser to . It provided the background music for one of Amazon’s most likeable Kindle commercials, and it’s part of a larger trend. Looking back over the history of Amazon’s advertising, you can see more examples of the thoughtful ways they’re presenting their new digital reader. And they’re using some very special songs to help share the idea that a Kindle can really become part of your life

This “zest” ad offered a nice collection of cheerful clips showing the Kindle in several cozy (although somewhat unlikely) places! (Like in a basket on the handlebars of a bicycle, or even getting licked by a dog…!) And to set the right tone for this bouncy ad, Amazon ultimately selected just the part of the song where the vocalist is singing “la la la,” over a guitar and the rhythm of clapping hands and set of maracas. But it turns out that when you download the longer (free) version of the song from Amazon, it’s actually got some very thoughtful lyrics. The song is by a British music producer named Bibo, but sometimes I like to think of it as commenting on the way that ebooks can resurrect great works of literature that were written centuries ago…

     Lovers’ names, carved in walls,
     overlap, start to merge.

     Some of them underneath.
     (Maybe) they appear, in graveyards.
     (Maybe they) fade away, weathered and
     overgrown. Time has told.

     Meaningful hidden words,
     (Sudden)ly appear, from the murk.
     (Maybe they’re) telling us, that the end
     never was, Never will.

     Words have gone. Meaning will
     (never) disappear, from the wall.

Screenshot from new Amazon Kindle television ad - The Book Lives On

Ad: The Book Lives On
Song: “Sweet Talk, Sweet Talk” by The New Pornographers

When Amazon lowered the price for their lightest Kindles to just $139, they also released a new ad that was clearly aimed at a younger market. It showed bright-faced young 20-somethings enjoying their Kindles in casual settings — on the grass, in a coffee shop, lying outdoors in the city, or while jogging past a lake. And to give this ad a dynamic feeling, Amazon used a recently-released song by a hip Canadian indie band called “The New Pornographers”, which delivered a near-nonsensical stream of positive-sounding words. “Silhouette, tell me a tall tale, go. Shout it out… Sweet talk, sweet talk…”

But using the rest of the song’s lyrics would’ve just been confusing!

     A mistake on the part of nature,
     You’re so fair and so fey that you’ll sit anywhere.
     I’ve pencil sketched the scene.
     It’s feeling Byzantine.

     Mistakes on the part of nature,
     The living proof of what they’re calling love,
     On certain sideway streets
     Where things that don’t match meet.

     A mistake on the part of nature,
     You are a tall glass, a blast from the past.
     Yeah, things were simpler then.
     You ask exactly when.

     A mistake on the part of nature.
     It’s forgiven. Move on.
     Won’t wear my Sunday suit to walk that street.
     That would feel Byzantine…

     Amnesia becomes ambition.
     Ambition becomes a new sort of
     Charming simplicity,
     Like always, Byzantine…

Singer Annie Little - from the first Amazon Kindle TV commercial Fly Me Away

Ad: “Fly Me Away”
Song: “Fly Me Away” by Little & Ashley

Even Amazon’s earliest ads for the Kindle had the same theme: trying to make this new technology seem friendly, comfortable, and easily approachable. In fact, for their first ads, they held a contest to see who could create the best home-made ad for Amazon — and the winning entry was slapped together in less than a week! “We misread the contest rules and thought it said ‘Make your own Amazon Kindle commercial,'” remembers one of the ad’s two creative directors — a photographer who specialized in stills, with no experience moving pictures. But their solution was to film 30 seconds of stop-motion animation, showing off all the fantastic places you can imagine when you’re reading on a Kindle.

The ad eventually won Amazon’s contest (leading to a series of six more ads) — and its music matched the theme perfectly! “Fly Me Away” is a tender acoustic duet about “Silver Moons and paper chains, Faded maps and shiny things…” But making the charm even more authentic is the fact that the song’s vocalist, Annie Little really is the woman who actually appears in the ad — and she’s signing a duet with her real-life fiance! (Marcus Ashley…) It took two different 7-hour sessions to complete all of the stop-motion animation around — but the visuals and the song both delivered their fanciful message about how Amazon (and their Kindle) offer “A million different ways to go”.

     Silver Moons and paper chains,
     Faded maps and shiny things.
     You’re my favorite one-man show.
     A million different ways to go.

     Will you fly me away?
     Take me away with you,
     My love.

     Painted scenes, I’m up all night.
     Slaying monsters, flying kites.
     Speak to me in foreign tongues.
     Share your secrets one by one…

     Now I can’t think what life was like
     Before I had you by my side.
     Can’t say what I’d do without you,
     Knowing what it’s like to have you.

     Hidden walk ways back in time.
     Endless stories, lovers cry.
     In my mind I’ve been set free.
     Will you take this Journey, you and Me?

     Will you Fly me away?

     Take me away with you, my love!

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