Thanksgiving is only a few weeks away, and many in the industry still don’t know what Christmas advertising might look like this year. With the spread of a global virus nearing its grim anniversary, brands continue to read the space to meet with a moment unparalleled: how to reconcile retail while recognizing that the world is a decidedly different place is.
To see what vacation advertising might look like, Amazon launched a beautiful and emotional ad to kick off the season. Here’s an exclusive first look at the comprehensive two-minute short film entitled “The Show Must Go On”. The piece was created by Lucky Generals and Taïs Vinolo, a French born ballerina, and currently resides in Los Angeles and New York City.
The powerful story follows a timeline of joy, challenge, and despair as Vinolo’s character plays a leading role in the production of her dance school, only to let Covid-19 put the plans on thin ice. She continues to exercise in and around her neighborhood – in the hopes that things will return to normal – but the performance is canceled. She ultimately loses hope.
Behind the scenes, however, her sister and her congregation gather in secret. They pull themselves together and conceive a chance for Vinolo’s character to appear in front of an audience. It’s a finale reminding of how some cities used art to merge in challenging times when the pandemic hit in their early days.
“Our vacation campaign is inspired and recognized by the unbeatable human spirit and community power we’ve seen so often this year,” said Simon Morris, vice president of global creative at Amazon.
The film was directed by powerhouse director Melina Matsoukas, an Adweek Creative 100 winner. Matsoukas is best known for working on music videos such as Beyonce’s iconic “Formation,” Rihanna’s “We Found Love,” and the 2019 film Queen and Slim, written by Lena Waithe. In addition to the extensive yet intimate camera work and production, the advertising is anchored with an original arrangement of Queen’s 1991 song “The Show Must Go On”.
This year’s ad is the fourth for TBWA Worldwide Shop Lucky Generals, and marks a departure from the past three years. While Amazon box singing is typically a crowd-puller, the gravity of the global situation called for a darker, yet more hopeful, approach.
In Viniolo’s view of being a black teenager establishing her name in the elite world of ballet, her casting gives this project a profound cultural impact and meaning right now as the world – and the United States in particular – grapples with systemic racism.
“When I was growing up in the French countryside there weren’t any young black girls studying ballet with hair like mine or even on TV, which means I had no one to relate to,” she said. “Being on this shoot helped me a lot and enabled me to own who I really am, who I want to be and what I represent. I am so proud to have been part of this project because the message from it means a lot to me, and all the more so in this very difficult time the world is going through. “
The full two minute display kicks off on November 3rd in the UK during the Great British Bake Off The ad will debut in the US on November 8th during NBC’s Sunday Night Football.
Amazon Campaign Team
VP Global Creative: Simon Morris
WW Executive Creative Director: Jo Schuhschmied
Senior Campaign Manager, EU: Jennifer Finch
Senior Campaign Manager, Global: Kelly McFarren
Senior Creative Program Manager, Global: Kara York
Creative Program Manager, Global: Jennifer Orrestad