Amazon.com is the information economy’s superstore. One can buy just about anything one desires from Bezos and company. If you’d like, Amazon’s Prime will even rush it to your doorstep. Such is the state of retail today. The mass appeal of fast-moving goods (that are just a click and a local warehouse away) is a winner for the consumer goods-based economy, and for Amazon and its investors. Sadly, the obliteration of ‘Main Street’ by a single digital titan is a big loser for the environment and for many of the company’s front-line workers, as well.
To meet the crush of demand during the holidays, Amazon.com hires thousands of “seasonal workers” each year. These short-term contact workers mirror the work done by agricultural migrants, and like agricultural migrants, the American economy would grind to a halt without them. In other words, Santa would not deliver.
The story of these overlooked and under-appreciated workers were depicted by Hollywood last year. Frances McDormand showed up for work at the warehouse in director Chloé Zhao’s film, NOMADLAND. But did ‘the warehouse’ show up for her?
Cut to the Heartfelt Christmas Story
There is one gift that Amazon.com can not provide—the gift of human kindness. Interestingly, this one thing that money can’t buy is the centerpiece of the brand’s holiday ad from Lucky Generals in London.
There is a product delivered by an Amazon courier in this storybook tale of neighbors caring about neighbors, but the product exchange is not the hero. The generous neighbor who extends herself and cares about someone else is the hero. Because there’s humility in this idea and Amazon is not the hero, the commercial (as a piece of advertising) works well.
Does it make us drop our concerns about the biggest box store of them all? No commercial is powerful enough to do that.
Shoppers today are willing to tolerate some of what’s wrong with Amazon.com, in order to benefit from what the company gets right. They’re a lot like Facebook in this way. Despite the negative press and offensive policies, people continue to shop on Amazon.com and they post about it on Facebook.
It Helps To Have Adele On Your Side
COVID-19 and its isolating impact on people also appear in the new ad, along with a new song from Adele.
Her song “Hold On” helps to take the commercial’s production values to a higher level. While the music plays a voiceover says, “In other news, cases of anxiety in young adults are rising as experts warn of the effects on well-being caused by the pandemic.”
“This holiday season will be shaped by what we’ve experienced during the pandemic,” said Ed Smith, general manager of Integrated Marketing at Amazon in the European Union. “The past 18 months have been challenging for people across the globe, including many young adults.”
The ad was shot by award-winning director Trey Edward Shults whose previous directing credits include the critically acclaimed film “Waves,” as well as “Krisha” and “It Comes at Night.”
AT&T Is Not On Amazon’s Holiday Page
Like Amazon, AT&T acknowledges COVID-19 and its impact on work and home life, but their takeaway is quite a bit different. In AT&T’s world, people “deserve” a new iPhone as a holiday gift because of all they’ve been through during the last 19 months.
While no one deserves an iPhone, TV viewers do deserve better advertising from AT&T. A better ad would not use the word “deserve” at all. A better ad would make the case for gifting an iPhone. The ad above simply assumes that you and every other American wants and deserves one.