This video is thirty five seconds long. Only six of those actually show the device full on.
That's because Amazon are not selling the Kindle Fire. In fact, they don't even begin the ad by saying that there's a new Kindle Fire. They don't use the word 'new' until the closing frames. This is what they're selling:
- traditional middle class living (battered red mailbox, iconic American dream, middle class image being emptied by Mum or a female child, probably the former.)
- people, smiling.
- normality made better (there's a woman actually brushing her teeth while she reads. Toothbrushing is a symbol of day-to-day drudgery for many people. I don't know anyone who would actually do this, but the point is that what is banal is made exciting. Note that the Kindle in that image is not a Fire. They're not selling the Fire.)
- aspirational life (the woman on the plane is definitely not flying economy unless she's very, very short) and peace - the music is tranquil throughout, and there's no noise from the kids, the plane etc. More, the children are playing happily with one another, engaged and beautiful; the couple shot is of a rooftop view in a perfect setting filled with affection; the final shot has one person in a hammock on the same roof.
- togetherness (there's a quick video call and a couple sharing.)
- art (there's a child grooving out.)
They tell you about the content, and they show you how glossy the device is. But they don't bother to explain it or to talk about battery life or really any of the stuff you might want to know if you were going to buy the device because that comes later. They are not selling you the Fire.
They are selling a life, of which the Fire is a part, even a symbol. Even if you can't have the life, you can have this part of it - for a reasonable fee.
Caffreys did the same a while ago. The company sold the dream, not the pint. And LandRover do it so absolutely that their most recent ad barely has a car in it. They are selling a forest and a theme tune.
The point? We need to sell the paper book by selling the lifestyle it implies if we want to continue to sell paper books. We cannot just sell books individually: we as an industry have to sell the idea of paper, the calm of paper, the ethos of dogs by the fire and whisky in an arm chair; or we can sell the sandy broken-spined paperback lifestyle of the beach; or the adventure lifestyle of snowboarding with a book in your backpack - because landing a poorly-executed 360 on a Kindle does not do the delicate electronics any good at all.
But we have to sell the book as a concept and a way of being as well as selling individual books, because otherwise paper is going to get out-sexied by digital as the largest and most successful companies of the last two decades go after the customer base using ebooks as a gateway drug.
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