WHAT: A pre-Black Friday and Christmas ad for Amazon Prime.
WHO: Amazon, Joint London
WHY WE CARE: Just two elderly men, clearly old acquaintances, having a catch up over a cup of tea. As they creakily stand up after their warm and friendly chat, they smile ruefully over their now less than athletic bodies. So far, so normal. Except these are not any old men, one is a Christian vicar and the other, a Muslim imam. The two-minute ad goes on to show each man using the Amazon Prime app to order identical kneepads as a gift for the other, to soften the wear and tear their religious duties cause. There’s no dialogue because the film needs none to convey its message of, as Amazon puts it in a statement, “selflessness and thinking of other people”.
The ad will run in the U.K., U.S., Canada, Germany and Austria, and is timely, to say the least. In the wake of the Brexit vote and the Presidential election, both the U.K. and the U.S. have seen a rise in anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim incidents. While the film fits perfectly with Amazon’s previous ads for its Prime service, which are all along the lines of thoughtfulness and fixing a problem for someone else, the context of an interfaith friendship is striking in its simplicity and carries the inescapable subtext that we are all, essentially, the same.
Amazon founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos, a man not prone to excessive tweeting, posted that he was “very proud” of the team behind the ad. The lead characters are played by real-life religious leaders; Gary Bradley, vicar at St Mary’s and Paddington Green in London and Zubier Mohammad, principal of the Muslim School Oadby in Leicester, U.K.