The Strange Songs in Amazon’s Kindle Ads

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?

Anna Zielinski in a blue bikini reading a Kindle at the beach in Amazon Paperwhite TV ad

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…
     Hello, hello.
     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.


Kindle in bathing suit back pocket beach ad

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,
     driving away.
     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…



Ink well from Kindle Fire ad

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…

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