April 7th, 2014
Song: “Lover’s Cravings” by Bibo
Amazon is actually giving this song away free — just point your browser to tinyurl.com/kindlead . 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 example of the thoughtful ways they’ve 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.
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
Like always, Byzantine…
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,
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!
March 11th, 2014
I was really proud after identifying which novel Amazon was showing being read in their latest Kindle commercial. (It’s Gone Girl, the best-selling 2012 thriller by Gillian Flynn.) But one of my readers had entirely different question. “I am more interested in who that woman is enjoying the book,” they e-mailed me last week.
“Since you’ve done a search into the book, I’m hoping you can figure it out!”
Here’s your answer: it’s Anna Zielinski, and she used to be a professional cheerleader! For two years she cheered on the San Antonio Spurs, an NBA basketball team, as one of their “Silver Dancers” — until she switched to career in acting. She’s appeared in various episodes of lots of different TV shows — including Bones, Castle, Without a Trace, Lie To Me, and How I Met Your Mother. Ironically, in 2005 she had a small part in Samuel L. Jackson’s movie about a basketball coach — in which appeared as a cheerleader!
Just 12 years ago, she was launching her career by starring in stage plays in Dallas — like Viva Las Vegas with Lou Diamond Phillips, as well as stage productions of Moulin Rouge and Chicago. But she was also getting chosen for some high-profile commercials, touting everything from Burger King to Black Angus and Southwest Airlines. She turned in a great performance as the saleswoman at a Saturn dealership, re-assuring a customer who’s confused by the fact that Saturn also sells sportscars. For a shortcut to that ad on YouTube, point your browser to tinyurl.com/KindlesToSaturn
But now she’s best-known just for reading ebooks. “Anna Zielinski is the face – and body – in some of Amazon’s Kindle ads…” begins a profile in Business Insider. She always appears reading in a binki — which is usually black — and in her first ad she teased an iPad owner who couldn’t read its screen because of the sunlight. “Poolside Girl in Kindle Ad Plunges a Nation Into Civil War,” joked a headline at CBS Moneywatch, which noted that within two days the ad had racked up nearly 1 million views just on YouTube (after it received a high-profile link from the technology blog Engadget ).
But I’d blame that 2010 controversy on the commercial’s script, which Zielinski delivered perfectly. She gently reminded the poor iPad owner that her own beach-friendly Kindle had only cost her $139.
“I actually paid more for these sunglasses!”
March 7th, 2014
I’m fascinated by the Kindle, and the way that it’s actually revolutionized how we’re reading and purchasing books. But Amazon’s always been very cautious as they’ve introduced this device into our world. For years their TV advertisements have worked very hard just to seem casual and relaxed, offering only a few simple lines of narration (often with fun and funny visuals). The real key to Amazon’s ads might be their music — which give each spot its special friendly and playful tone.
So which songs did Amazon choose to represent the Kindle?
Ad: Vacation Getaway with Kindle Paperwhite
Song: Chupee by Cocoon
“We have gone to the country, in your old car…” begins the gentle duet by the French band Cocoon, as a strumming ukelele is joined by an acoustic guitar and the sound of hands clapping. The complete song also featured a flute — and some lyrics about how that car trip ultimately went awry. “We have lost our way so many times…”
Eating your Chupa Chup,
A plane is making a loop.
The beavers are so cute.
A tree gave me a fruit…
I take you on a trip…
It’s a good choice for an ad about relaxing in the sun reading your Kindle. And there’s a lovely music video for the song on YouTube, which shows the two singers relaxing in the forest — when they’re suddenly discovered by animated creatures who dance on their keyboard — and walk off with their acoustic guitar! (For a shortcut to the video on YouTube, go to tinyurl.com/TheCountrySong )
Ad: Pack Your Kindle
Song: “When They Fight, They Fight” by The Generationals
I’d first refered to this as Amazon’s “Secret Summer Commercial,” since it first aired in England in the summer of 2012, showing “lots of happy people enjoying their Kindle while they’re ‘on holiday’ at the beach.” The first words on the screen are “Pack Your Kindle,” before a montage of cheerful scenes shows scenes from a fancy summer resort (all of which include a Kindle) — like a tall glass of lemonade on a table, or a woman reading by the pool.
The playful song that sets the tone for this ad even opens with a “wolf whistle”, and it’s by a Louisiana band called The Generationals. Though the ad only used two of their song’s lyrics — “I love you baby,” and “Oooh, ooh ooh….” — the parts of the song that Amazon left out are actually much darker (and would actually have completely contradicted the ad’s cheerful message!)
When they fight, they fight!
And when they come home at night they say,
“I love you, baby.”
Was it too much too soon,
Or too little too late?
He got the message she left on his car, in the rain.
And then the words they come to you,
You just can’t let it go…
And when it all comes crashing down,
what can you do,
to find what you’re looking for?
And then the words will come to you,
driving through the rain.
But there’ll be no one there to say them to anyway…
Ad: “From Kindle, Fire is born”
Song: “Words” by The Givers
When Amazon released their first Kindle Fire tablets, they created some excitement with an ad that depicted the entire history of the written word. “The instruction we find in books is like fire,” began the narration — reading a quote from Voltaire — over footage of a quill pen. “We fetch it from our neighbors, kindle it at home, communicate it to others, and it becomes property of all…”
And Amazon found the perfect song to accompany that ad. (To listen to the entire song on YouTube, go to tinyurl.com/KindleFireSong ) The Givers, another band from Louisiana, begin with an echo-y harmonica mixed with some aimless synthesized notes and a violin, before it’s transformed by a pounding beat into a howl about how “The words we say today. We’ll say, and we’ll see them again. Yes, we’ll see them again…”
So I choose my words so carefully,
like the sun, make it glow, or they glare at me.
Well, I choose light.
I like that warm,
keep me up at night.
And I pry that door of honesty
And as the warmth shines in, it dawns on me
That I choose light
To guide me through my actions at night…
So just hold up. Don’t fold up.
Before you know, before you know, before you know, you’ll know
You’ll see it again.
Yes you’ll see it again
And if your notion is in motion
Before you know, before you know, before you know, you’ll know
You’ll see there’s no end.
Yes you’ll see there’s no end, end, end, end…
And if the waves ride high, then so will I.
Before you know, before you know, before you know, you’ll know.
And you’ll see them again.
You’ll see them again…
February 23rd, 2014
Watching TV, I just spotted a brand new ad for the Kindle. (Amazon’s touting the Kindle Paperwhite, so their ad shows a woman in a bikini enjoying an ebook in a beach chair — while the unhappy people around her struggle to read their own tablets in the bright sunlight.) There’s a short shot of the clear, crisp letters on her Kindle’s screen, and it always makes me want to ask the same question.
So what ebook is she actually reading?
Fortunately, you can pause the video long enough to read some of the sentences — and if you type them into Google, you can reveal the secret answer. It turns out that the woman at the beach is deeply engrossed in a 434-page thriller by Gillian Flynn. It’s called Gone Girl, and it became a best-seller in 2012 just a few weeks after it was released, ultimately selling more than two million copies.
It tells a darkly intriguing story about an unhappy couple that’s been married for five years — when the wife suddenly goes missing on their fifth anniversary. That’s why the book is titled “Gone Girl”, and the title of the chapter being read in the Kindle ad is “THE DAY OF…”
“…through it, trying to catch and pin down her thoughts. What are you thinking, Amy? The question I’ve asked most often during our marriage, if not out loud, if not to the person who could answer. I suppose these questions stormcloud over every marriage: What are you thinking? How are you feeling? Who are you? What have we done to each other? What will we do?
My eyes ﬂipped open at exactly six a.m. This was no avian ﬂuttering of the lashes, no gentle blink toward consciousness. The awakening was mechanical. A spooky ventriloquist-dummy click of the lids: The world is black and then, showtime! 6-0-0 the clock said—in my face, ﬁrst thing I saw. 6-0-0. It felt different. I rarely woke at such a rounded time. I was a man of jagged risings: 8:43, 11:51, 9:26. My life was alarmless.
At that exact moment, 6-0-0, the sun climbed over the skyline of oaks, revealing its full summer angry-god self. Its reﬂection ﬂared across the river toward our house, a long…”
You can read the whole chapter online — NPR Books published a much longer excerpt back in May of 2012 when the thriller was first released. I cheated and read a summary of the book’s plot on its page on Wikipedia, and I’ll just say that as expected, this book definitely has a lot of plot twists! And apparently there’s also a movie version that’s in production starring Ben Affleck as the possibly-murderous husband!
But best of all, you won’t have any trouble reading this page-turning thriller in the bright sunlight at the beach — as long as you’re reading it on your Kindle!
October 4th, 2013
Amazon’s just released a new ad for their Kindle Paperwhite — and I wish I could put it into a time capsule. Because it perfectly captures a moment in the evolution of reading. Of course, from Amazon’s perspective, it’s just another way of reaching out to the people who are still resisting the idea of reading ebooks on a Kindle. But they came up with a really clever way to do it — and it makes for some very compelling viewing!
You can watch the video of this ad — and all of Amazon’s newest Kindle ads — at YouTube.com/Kindle . This one is called simply “Real People, Genuine Reactions to the All-New Kindle Paperwhite “. And it’s the candid reactions that make it so much fun to watch! Amazon filmed people using their newest Kindle — and caught their reactions on a hidden camera!
“This is amazing…”
Amazon’s narrator explains enthusiastically that “We invited book lovers to try the new Kindle Paperwhite” — but that’s really an understatement. Because Amazon actually set up a miniature living room in the middle of a city plaza — and then invited people to sit down in its overstuffed furniture! It’s a nice gimmick, and it seems to have really made Amazon’s “test subjects” comfortable enough to open about their feelings on books. “I’m such a passionate reader,” one of their subjects explained — and another added “When I’m reading a book, and I really love what I’m reading, I get lost in the story!” But what’s remarkable is how specific they get about the advantages of the Kindle.
“It’s as clear as a book…”
“There’s no glare from the sun.”
“A thousand books in your back pocket?”
“The Kindle is fantastic!”
Of course, by identifying the people in their ads as “book lovers,” Amazon is making a specific point of their own: that reading on a Kindle is just as much fun as reading a print book. (“I love it!” gushes one of their subjects at one point.) And another one even jokes that when Amazon’s through interviewing them about their new Kindles, “We’re not giving ‘em back!” But one of the most touching reactions came from what looks like a couple who has been together for a long time.
The husband, looking off towards the future, murmurs reflectively, “We might have to get two…”
Remember, you can watch the video of this ad — and all of Amazon’s newest Kindle ads — at YouTube.com/Kindle
March 7th, 2013
I see alot of interesting stories about Amazon’s Kindle, and it seemed like it’d be fun to do a special “lightning round”, taking quick note of both the best and the worst stories from the last few weeks. There’s at least one heart-warming story, one provokative developments, and at least a few people who are definitely deserving of some jeers. In fact, I wanted to make this list partly just so I could give a special jeer to all of the authors cited in this story in the Wall Street Journal.
Jeers to the “Authors Who Buy Their Way Onto Best-Seller Lists
About 10 days ago, the Journal published a startling expose of a company called ResultsSource, which promises authors that it can deliver specific sales milestones, including “over 100,000 copies sold” or even an appearance on the best-seller list. The article cites publishing industry insiders who are worried that “bulk purchases are being made to appear like single sales to qualify for inclusion in best-seller lists,” and even when the books drop off the best-seller list, it still becomes a credential that the authors can tout as they hunt for speaking and consulting gigs. For one business book, more copies were later returned in a single week than were sold in that same week, which was still a win for the author since he’d already reached the best-seller list. At least one author admitted he’d paid between $20,000 and $30,0000 for an artifical boost to his book sales — though I should probably also award Cheers here to Amazon, who told the Journal that they were no longer willing to do any business with ResultSource. But…
Jeers to Amazon for deleting eBooks from their App
Amazon had just wanted to update the Kindle app they’d created for Apple’s iOS — but for a short time last week, a bug apparently actually deleted the ebooks which had already been downloaded into the app. “Now I have to upload over 130 books from the cloud,” one user complained to the technology blog Mashable, which also reports that Amazon eventually updated their update to fix the problematic behavior.
Cheers to Uma Thurman
I didn’t want to let the week go by without acknowledging one of my favorite, heart-warming stories. Last Friday movie actress Uma Thurman read The Cat in the Hat to more than 250 schoolchildren — many of whom were wearing special red and white-striped hats just like the cat in Dr. Seuss’s book. It was all part of “Read Across America” Day, which boasts 45 million participants, as a partnership between the Random House, the National Educationa Association, and Dr. Seuss Enterprises. (Each child in Manhattan got a free copy of The Cat in the Hat.) But there’s some fun footage of the event on the NEA’s web site (at NEA.org ) which includes a clip from Manhattan’s public library showing Thurman delivering an especially dramatic rendition of the children’s classic.
“I saw there with Sally, we sat there we too, and I said, ‘How I wish we had something to do…'”
Cheers for the funny “Kindle at the beach” ad.
I love Amazon’s TV ads for the Kindle, and when I first saw this one on TV, it felt like another one I’d already seen before, where a man and a woman at the beach discuss how it’s still possible to read on a Kindle in the sun. It’s a shot at the iPad (and other tablets), which reflect the glare of the sun when you’re trying to read at the beach — but this ad ends with a surprising twist. The man buys himself a Kindle, and then turns to the woman and says “We should celebrate.”
My husband’s bringing me a drink right now,” she tells him.
“So’s mine!” the man replies.
You can watch the whole thing at YouTube.com/Kindle, along with all of Amazon’s other Kindle ads — including another 30-second ad with no dialogue at all — just 30 seconds of people reading their Kindles at the beach!
February 13th, 2013
Amazon’s just started broadcasting a fun new ad on television that mocks the high price of Apple’s popular iPad tablets. (That’s a screenshot at the top of this post, and you can watch the whole ad at youtube.com/Kindle .) It’s a simple ad — in fact, the narrator says just 40 words. But its message is unmistakeable…
This is the iPad with Retina display. And this is the new Kindle Fire HD with an 8.9-inch display. Stunning HD, stunning HD. In fact, you may not be able to tell the difference.
But your wallet definitely can.
It’s been fun to watch the reactions to Amazon’s ad around the web. “[I]t’s not beating around the bush this time,” jokes a technology blogger at Mashable. “The ad is a direct comparison with Apple’s iPad, claiming the two devices’ screens are virtually identical, while the price for the Kindle is much lower.” But in the comments to his post, some of his readers disagreed. ” OK, let’s compare the price of a BMX bike to that of a Corvette shall we?” wrote one. “If you’re looking to only read books, surf the web and watch movies, get a Kindle. If you want access to 10s of thousands of games and productivity tools including spreadsheet, presentation and Word-like apps, a camera, the ability to have video chat, movie editing, artistic and music creation apps as well as a large enough hard drive to handle all of those files. get an iPad…”
At a site called Mobile Mag, another blogger seemed to agree with that analysis, writing that that there are indeed more apps available for the iPad, it has a larger display, and its operating system is a lot more sophisticated. But even he seemed to enjoy the rivalry between the two top tablet makers. “Whether you are for the Kindle or against it, it is nice to see that someone is trying to take down the all-mighty Apple,” he writes.
But he added sardonically, “It’s a shame that we all can’t just be friends.”
January 11th, 2013
I love Amazon’s Kindle ads. (I’ll be watching TV — muting every single commercial with my remote — when I’ll suddenly shout out “Kindle!”) It’s always fascinating to see them trying to capture the mystique of the Kindle. Here’s my list of some of the very best moments.
The Kindle has its own page on YouTube (at youtube.com/Kindle ), so every time I visit it, I end up watching all the other cool Kindle ads that I haven’t seen. One of my favorites shows a little boy telling his grandmother what he wants in the book that sbe’s going to give him for a Christmas gift. (“Mayan temples. Or race cars. Or spelunking… Or martians. Or any kind of alien, really…”) The joke is that his wise grandmother is able to give him all of those things — by giving the boy his own Kindle, so he can download any ebook he wants!
It’s exciting to see digital readers making the “big time” of network television. But I thought it was funny that there was another Kindle ad that had an even stranger connection to Christmas that was much more subtle. The official title of the ad was “Zest” — it’s the one with shots of the Kindle in everyday life. In the ad, the Kindle was everywhere — on a bus, in a jewelry drawer, in a back pocket, getting licked by a dog…
But another shot shows Cheerios splashing across the screen of a Kindle — and they’re covering the page of another ebook. It’s Mini Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella, the sixth book in a series of funny books about life as a shopaholic. And in this one she ponders the next generation of shoppers, starting with her two-year-old daughter Minnie. The Kindle in the ad has turned to a poignant page where, as her daughter leaves a card for Santa in a wishing well, the narrator remembers leaving her own greedy Christmas letters.
…long and involved, with illustrations and pictures cut out of catalogs, just in case he got confused.
A pair of pink-faced girls of about ten, all giggly and whispery, are posting their wishes, and just the sight of them gives me a rush of nostalgia. It seems wrong not to join in. I might jinx it or something.
Dear Father Christmas, I find myself writing on a card. It’s Becky here again. I pause and think for a bit, and then quickly scribble down a few things.
I mean, only about three. I’m not greedy or anything.
Minnie is drawing earnestly all over her card and has got felt-tip on her hands and her nose.
“I’m sure Father Christmas will understand what you mean,” I say gently, taking it from her….
Reading that, it made me wonder what would’ve happened if she’d gotten a Kindle for Christmas instead. I once joked that maybe Amazon was sending hidden messages in the ebooks they were displaying on the Kindle’s screen in their ads. In this case, the message would be about shopping on Amazon. But I finally concluded it was just Amazon’s way of recommending some good books…
And by the way, remember that you can also download the cheerful, bouncing song from this ad for free from Amazon.com. It’s a song called “Lovers’ Cravings” by a British music producer who goes by the name of Bibio!
September 12th, 2012
In all the excitement, I almost forgot to mention: Amazon also has a new ad for their Paperwhite Kindle. It starts with some of the same text as their ads for the Kindle Fire HD. (“We’re the people with the smile on the box. We’re the re-inventors of normal….”) But then it segues into an explanation of what’s revolutionary about the new Kindle Paperwhite.
That’s why we created our newest Kindle, with the world’s first Paperwhite display that reads without glare in bright sunlight, at night and every minute in between.
Because the only thing more perfect than reading is more reading….
You can see the video in the Kindle’s channel on YouTube at youtube.com/Kindle — and within six hours, the video had already received dozens of comments. It’s fun to see how it generated a real ripple of excitement this morning around the world, and it’s apparently now been preserved online forever. “I want it now!” posted a 31-year-old woman calling herself DeniGirl2, leaving the very first comment on the video. And a nearly identical comment came later from a 32-year-old nearly 5,000 miles away.
“I want this!!!” posted a viewer in Turkey — who will probably have a hard time ordering one…
“Ordering as soon as it’s possible!” posted a 32-year-old using the handle AdamHitt. (“Congrats Amazon!” he added. “It’s beautiful!”) And a 62-year-old in England also posted “I WANT IT,” but they had another reason for delaying their purchase. “I already have two kindles tho :(”
There was also a lot of discussion about how exactly Amazon will provide the lighting on the screen. “Isn’t this Paperwhite display just another way to call a LCD display…” asked one users (adding “I hope I’m wrong.”) And within one hour, another YouTube commenter had set them straight. “It’s still e-ink, just like before. [Amazon] added a light around the rim of the screen (plus a special film to make the light even) on top of the e-ink display.
“If you turn the light off, it’s just like the old kindle (but better resolution)!”
One user wondered if it’d be hard to find the new Kindle Paperwhite in the dark, so you’d be able to then turn on its light. But I was impressed by the observation that came from another comment. “With the light on the battery will still last 8 weeks, so most people will just never turn it off, even in properly lighted areas.”
I’m excited about Amazon’s newly-announced Kindles, so it’s nice to see there’s other people online who are also sharing my excitement. A retired home entrepreneur had just three words for Amazon’s newest ad. “Awesome! Love this!” And at least one user was more interested in the obvious advantage of the Kindle’s new built-in lighting.
“Guess I won’t have to read my Kindle in bed with an LED Headlamp on anymore if I had this!”
September 6th, 2012
Amazon’s just released two slick new ads to promote their new Kindle Fire HD tablets. You can watch them all on YouTube at youtube.com/kindle — and they provide some interesting glimpses into the way Amazon is planning to sell these new devices — as well as Amazon’s own view of their role in the 21st century.
When I discovered these ads Thursday on YouTube, only 300 people had seen them. But soon Amazon should start broadcasting them on TV during prime-time commercial breaks, where they’ll presumably be seen by millions. So what does Amazon want to tell these people about their new Kindle Fire HD tablets — and about Amazon? Here’s a transcript of the text for their new ad for the Kindle Fire.
“We’re the people with the smile on the box. We’re the re-inventors of normal. We dream of making things that change your life, then disappear into your everyday. Of making the revolutionary routine.
“Our accomplishments are things you barely think about, but can’t imagine not having. Connecting your mouse to your front door was our moon landing. Creating Kindle — our four-minute mile. Customer reviews – our light bulb. And when we build you something new, you can expect everything to change a little more.
“Look around. What once seemed wildly impractical is now completely normal. And ‘normal’ just begs to be messed with.”
There’s some touching footage in the ads of a family receiving an enormous box from Amazon, and another one showing a small box from Amazon — presumably a new Kindle — arriving as just another package in a stack of mail. It shows children touching the screen of a Kindle, and even a woman who’s reading her Kindle while brushing her teeth, all to make the point that now Kindles are becoming part of our lives. And I thought Amazon came up with a great way to tout the fact that you don’t even need a light now to read on one of their new Kindles. They show someone relaxing in a hammock on their deck overlooking the city — enjoying their Kindle outside, at night, without even needing a reading lamp.
But I wondered if, when Amazon created this ad, they were thinking of Steve Jobs. Apple’s legendary “Big Brother” ad in 1984 helped to launch the whole personal computing revolution, and Steve Jobs himself helped write Apple’s inspiring “Think Different” campaign (which showed footage of famous people as the narration explained that “they change things. They invent. They imagine… They create. They inspire. They push the human race forward…”) The grandiose comparisons created an aura of excitement around Apple’s new products, and now that they’re competing directly with the iPad, maybe Amazon’s now trying to claim some of that same gravitas for themselves. They’re basically equating the ability to shop online at Amazon.com with the first time humans walked on the moon!
Both the classic Apple ads and Amazon’s newest ads use “change” as their theme, trying to capture the excitement that a new technology can bring into the world. Interestingly, Amazon has also filmed a shorter version of the same ad that starts with the same first two sentence — “We’re the people with the smile on the box. We’re the re-inventors of normal…” — but then cuts straight to their point. “So when we bring you a new Kindle Fire, you should know that normal is going to change. Again.” Despite the fact that this ad is a full 30 seconds shorter, it still actually lists out more of the specific selling points for Amazon’s newest tablet. (“With an HD screen, HD camera, and dual-speaker Dolby sound, and 22 million movies, TV shows, songs, apps, books and more…”) And I thought the way that they ended this commercial made all of Amazon’s points with just four scrappy words
“Hey normal — take that!”
July 27th, 2012
I love Amazon’s Kindle commercials. It’s really fun to see how a professional advertising agency captures the fun of owning a Kindle with flashy video clips and exotic music choices. Today I discovered there’s one great Kindle commercial that most people haven’t seen. It’s airing only in England, but you can also watch it online on Amazon’s official channel for Kindle videos!
This cheerful ad shows lots of happy people enjoying their Kindle while they’re “on holiday” at the beach. (“Pack your Kindle,” urge the words appearing on-screen at the beginning of the commercial.) Those words appear over the image of a carefully-packed suitcase, but all the other video clips show a fancy summer resort. There’s a woman relaxing by the pool, a tall glass of lemonade, and a room with a view of the beach. But of course, each clip includes a Kindle as part of the fun!
“Holds all your holiday books…” read the words next to the glass of lemonade. “Lighter than a paperback…” appears as a man flops onto a bed with his Kindle, with the lovely beach view in the background. Amazon manages to include all the Kindle’s key selling points, while creating a real sense of fun. “Now introducing Kindle Touch…” they add towards the end of the commercial. “Kindle £89 Kindle Touch £109…”
The video appears on Amazon’s official channel for Kindle videos at YouTube.com/Kindle. (On the same page, Amazon’s also webcasting some inspiring interviews with some self-published authors.) Altogether, Amazon’s online Kindle videos have been viewed more than 7,249,265 times. And yet so far, this fun summer ad has racked up less than 11,000 views.
I liked the bouncy song in the background, which adds to the breezy tone of the commercial. The song seems to have just two lyrics — “I love you, baby,” and “Oooh, oooh oooh…” But with some research, I discovered that the complete song is actually a lot darker. “When they fight, they fight. And when they come home at night they say, ‘I love you, baby’…” (It’s by a band called “The Generationals” — and it looks like Amazon’s using yet another new hip band from Louisiana for its Kindle ads….)
It’s not just the perfect song for a Kindle ad. The exact same song was used in a commercial for Bloomingdales, according to the band’s page on Wikipedia. The song’s swinging trumpet and bouncing bassline gives it a groovy ’60s sound — towards the beginning, there’s even a playful “wolf whistle.” But the effect seems to be ironic, since the song is actually chronicling the end of relationship
“He got the message she left on his car, in the rain…. And when it all comes crashing down, what can you do, to find what you’re looking for? And then the words will come to you, driving through the rain. But there’ll be no one there to say them to anyway….”
But at least some couples are still enjoying a lovely holiday together at the beach this summer — at least, judging by Amazon’s Kindle ad.
April 19th, 2012
Amazon’s released at least four different ads where actress Amy Rutberg plays a woman who resists her friend’s gentle suggestions about the advantages of a Kindle. But in real life, she’s a big fan of the Kindle — and gave away over half a dozen of them as a gift this Christmas! She’s been posting some funny updates on Twitter about how her life has changed since she became “the Kindle girl”. And she’s also receiving a few funny messages herself – from other enthusiastic Kindle owners!
“got my 1st Kindle (Touch) last week, and I’m already addicted,” someone messaged her on Twitter in December, adding “It’s ALL your fault ;)” And just last month, an accountant sent her another message with the obvious question. “Do you really use a Kindle? My grand daughter got one for Christmas but it’s already broken!”
“I’m sorry to hear about your granddaughter’s #kindle,” Amy responded sweetly (adding “Yes, I really use my kindle. I’m obsessed!”) But there’s apparently an extra sense of responsibility that comes from being the star of a national ad campaign. Amy pre-ordered an ebook in September, according to one Twitter post, but was startled when it was finally released three months later, and it was time to actually make the payment. “Got a suprise notice that I owed #amazonkindle for an ebook I ordered in Sept,” she wrote. “would b pretty embarrassed if I had a delinquent account!”
I felt a little bit like the Kindle ad paparazzi reading her Twitter posts – but she’s looking for more followers, so I figured she’d appreciate the publicity. And it was refreshing to learn that in real life, the actress from Amazon’s commercials is already an enthusiastic Kindle user herself – and that she’s got a lively sense of humor. (A few months ago she re-posted a silly Twitter update posted by Family Guy writer Alec Sulkin. “Just bought a Ken doll. I don’t know what everyone’s talking about, you can’t read books on this thing!”)
It must be a lot of fun being the woman from the Kindle ad — and then being able to show up with Kindles for all your friends. That’s what Amy did when Christmas rolled around this year, posting in early December, “Just bought 7 $79 kindles as gifts, and it felt gooood….
“and no, I don’t get a discount.”
She even bought her dad a Kindle for Christmas — then posted a picture of it up on Twitter. She joked that the sexy ad it was displaying for a T-Mobile 4G “hotspot” was “So wrong on so many levels :)”
March 12th, 2012
This is the sweetest Kindle commercial I’ve ever seen. A little girl peeking through a flower-colored curtains watches a mail truck arrive at her house. And her eyebrows go up as she spots a postman trotting up her steps, delivering a package from Amazon — as a voice-over begins.
“For years, we’ve been placing the things you love at your doorstep. Now, we’re placing them at your fingertips…”
You watch this ad — and all Amazon’s Kindle ads — at youtube.com/Kindle . The little girl rushes down the stairs — and hops over the family dog — while her dad, reading the newspaper, hears the excited footsteps and signs for the package. The little girl opens the package at the bottom of the staircase, and lifts out a Kindle Fire, while her father joins her and starts flipping through the tablet’s family-friendly choices, like a “Dora the Explorer” book or the movie “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
“Introducing Kindle Fire, a Kindle for movies, music, web browsing, apps, games, and of course, reading….”
In the last shot, the little girl seems fascinated by the Kindle Fire. (Though I’d wanted to believe that it was her new tablet device, it looks like her dad’s going to keep hogging it for himself!) Maybe the commercial’s real message is, “If the mailman delivers something cool to your house, your parents will just take it away from you…” Of course, it addresses an even bigger concern from the last Amazon ad about the Kindle Fire. The mailman in that ad simply left Amazon’s package behind on a woman’s front doorstep! (“People in America must really trust their neighbors,” joked one commenter on YouTube.)
That ad was released in November, when most people were still waiting for their tablets to arrive, so Amazon apparently wanted to remind them how happy they’d be when it arrived. (You can watch that ad at tinyurl.com/DoorstepAd .) What’s really interesting is that both ads use the exact same voice-over.
“For years, we’ve been placing the things you love at your doorstep. Now, we’re placing them at your fingertips…”
Amazon’s calling this new commercial “Dad and Daughter”, and it’s another fun look at the way Amazon is “positioning” their Kindles for the consumer market. But there’s also a small “continuity” error, if you watch closely. It looks like the mailman who finally delivers the Kindle is a different actor than the one that the little girl saw through her window. (The man trotting up her stairs had darker hair, plus a white t-shirt on under his uniform that went up to his neck!)
By the way, I also learned something new about Amazons other Kindle commercial. I’d watch a “friends” commercial online, where the blonde woman complains in surprise that the new Kindle costs less than her jeans or her haircut. I’d never seen it on TV, and wondered if I was just watching an “outtake” that Amazon had ultimately decided not to broadcast. Some of my wonderful readers contacted me to say that they’d seen it on TV — more than once! — and a third reader had the same reaction that I did. “I remember thinking it was weird, since it did seem to air after the one where she bought a Kindle for herself and her dad.” But then there was that same blonde woman again, now telling her friend “You know I can’t afford a Kindle….”
Apparently…now she can afford a Kindle!
March 1st, 2012
I was studying Amazon’s recently-released ads — and I found one that I hadn’t even seen! In fact, I’m guessing that almost no one has, since according to YouTube, it’s been viewed less than 8,000 times. (By comparison, Amazon’s racked up more than half a million views for its latest Kindle ad — the one which argues that an iPad is still more expensive than two Kindle Fire tablets and a new Kindle!)
Last summer, Amazon launched a series of ads about two friends – a blonde woman who didn’t own a Kindle, and a young man who did. But in December, Amazon uploaded the strangest one of all to YouTube. (You can view all of Amazon’s Kindle ads online at YouTube.com/Kindle .) I’ve never seen this one on TV — and it’s got me wondering if it’s an “outtake” that Amazon ultimately decided not to broadcast! Maybe the advertising agency created it, but Amazon rejected it because it made that blonde woman look a little too silly. But it does offer a deeper glimpse into the lives of the two friends.
“Hey! Check out this new Kindle,” the young man says.
“I wish,” the blonde woman replies. “You know I can’t afford a Kindle.”
“Yes you can. It’s only $79 dollar.”
“What? That can’t be right. That’s less than I paid for these jeans.”
“That’s less than my cable bill.”
“That’s less than I spent on this haircut.”
“That’s less than I spent on your birthday present.”
“How do you know how much I spend on everything?”
(Pause) “I read a lot.”
That’s one thing I love about Amazon’s TV ads. Each one has something exciting to say about the Kindle — but each one is also completely different! But here’s why I think this ad is an outtake. Amazon had already released an ad where the blonde woman triumphantly tells her friend that she’s finally purchased a Kindle for herself. (You can watch it online at tinyurl.com/SheBuysAKindle ). I first saw it in late September, and by now it’s been viewed just on YouTube more than 168,000 times.
“What’s up, happy pants?”
“I just bought my dad the new Kindle. $79.”
“You?! A Kindle? Really?”
“No. Me, two Kindles. Really…”
“You’re going to give your dad two Kindles?”
“No, of course not.”
“Who could you have possibly have bought the second Kindle for.”
“Okay, it’s for me. It’s only $79.”
“And it reads just like a paper book.”
“It’s better to receive than to give.”
“I don’t think that’s how it goes.”
“Close enough.” (She jiggles her two Kindles…)
February 23rd, 2012
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!