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Amazon’s Holiday Ad Showcases Its Growing Creative Power

When producing this year’s holiday campaign, Amazon wanted to be mindful of the limited spending power many customers are likely to have after a year of economic uncertainty. The creative idea would also need to work in as many countries as possible.

The retail giant’s in-house creative team would end up producing the “Joy Is Shared” campaign, with the main brand story told in the centerpiece ad “Joy Ride.” In conveying the message that Amazon’s mission is to make people’s lives a little easier, the ad has been hailed by advertising effectiveness companies as one of the best-performing spots produced by the ecommerce giant.

The story told in the 60-second hero film sees three older women who, as lifelong friends, revive the joy they felt as children at the top of a sledding hill, thanks to a moment of inspiration and Amazon’s website. Playing throughout is an instrumental cover of The Beatles classic “In My Life” to add even more pathos.

“Above all, we try to make an emotional connection through stories that only Amazon can tell,” Claudine Cheever, vp of global marketing at Amazon, told Adweek.

The ads aim to relay that the company can make the holidays more joyful while highlighting brand assets including its one-click user interface, fast shipping and the smiling box.

“It’s a rare gift to have a brand with so many distinctive and differentiated equity, and we’ve been perfecting how to deploy them for each event we have for our customers,” Cheever added. 

In another nostalgic move, Amazon is also bringing back its award-winning social video series “Amasongs” that recreate some of the company’s original commercials with a choir dressed in holiday sweaters.

Behind the scenes

Shot in Lost Angeles and Mammoth Lakes, California, as well as Vancouver, the original story did not focus on a group of entirely female friends. But the three actresses—Maya Waterman, the lead character who purchases the seat cushions, Annie O’Donnell and Susan Grace—won the team over with their auditions.

“We spotted the three of them together chatting away in the waiting area and decided it was worth seeing how their dynamic played out in an audition. As soon as they walked into the room, they completely sparkled, and we knew we’d found our heroes,” Cheever said.

The production of the holiday campaign was a global team effort within Amazon, spanning European and North American brand and retail marketing, strategy, program management and media, as well as internal creative and production teams led by global chief creative officer Jo Shoesmith.

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