Amazon Deftly Explores Anxiety in a Reopening World in Holiday Ad

Adele's new track 'Hold On' debuts in the spot

A small act of kindness between neighbors—one younger, one older, both women of color—powers Amazon's global holiday campaign, which draws from pandemic experience to distill the deeper meaning of the season.

Lucky Generals developed the work with director Trey Edward Schults (Waves, Krishna, It Comes at Night). Adele's upcoming gospel-tinged single "Hold On" provides the soulful soundtrack. The team delivers a two-and-a-half-minute tale awash in Covid-era angst and uncertainty, as a young woman, portrayed by Karene Peter, ventures back into a world that seems familiar yet forever changed.

Kindness, the greatest gift | Amazon Holiday Ad

Events of the past 20 months altered her expectations, hopes and fears in sundry ways. Every gesture, glance and footfall seems fraught with tension. Each day presents challenges that leave her feeling isolated and uneasy, even in class or among the milling crowd.

What she needs most, perhaps, is a sign of kinship and camaraderie, some signal that life can start anew. An unexpected gift symbolizes human connection. It says: We're all in this together, and we can share our strength—even across generations—if only we'll reach out and give what we can.

Though not a DEI spot per se, the reality of race adds significant layers in light of current events and social tensions. It's a universal message, to be sure, but casting Black women as leads gives the storyline special resonance.

"This holiday season will be shaped by what we've experienced during the pandemic," Ed Smith, general manager of integrated marketing at Amazon's European Union operations, says in campaign materials. "The past 18 months have been challenging for people across the globe, including many young adults. Our time together cannot be taken for granted. So, this year, while the world will not be totally back to normal, opportunities for kindness and connection will take on a newfound importance."
 
Adds Peter: "I'm a big believer in 'It's nice to be nice,' so I try to live by that in my day to day. Simple acts of kindness can make a have an influence on someone's well-being."

Etsy crafted a similar appeal in its festive fare, with slice-of-life stories that urge shoppers to "Give More Than a Gift" and improve people's lives. Amazon's "Kindness" ad also feels like an evolution of its 2020 approach that dealt with keeping one's dreams and sense of self alive as the coronavirus raged. (Singing smile boxes seem so 2019!)

CREDITS

Amazon Campaign Team
Simon Morris – VP Global Creative
Jo Shoesmith – WW Executive Creative Director
Ed Smith, GM Integrated Marketing
Kelly McFarren – Sr. Campaign Manager, Global
Marietta Constantinou – Sr. Campaign Manager, EU
Erika Rivera – Creative Program Manager, Global
Nadiya Abubakar – Sn. Creative Program Manager, EU
Sarah Jones – Sn. Creative Program Manager, EU
Ryan Redington – VP, Amazon Music
John Murphy – Senior Manager, Amazon Music
Tegan Delap – Head of Sync Licensing

Agency & Production
Creative Agency – Lucky Generals
Director – Trey Edward Schults
DOP – Drew Daniels
Production Company – Academy Films
Production Company Producer – Jacob Swan Hyam
Editing House – Whitehouse Post
Editor – Russell Icke
Post Production – ETC
Colourist – Damien Vandercruyssen (Harbour)
Sound House – Wave
Sound Engineer – Johnnie Burn & Jonny Platt

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