Agencies have played a crucial role in helping Amazon, the e-commerce and tech giant, make ads that are braver and bolder, according to a leading executive at the company.

Claudine Cheever, Amazon’s global general manager of marketing and advertising, discussed this subject at the 4A’s (American Association of Advertising Agencies) 2018 Strategy Festival.

And she cited a campaign entitled “A Voice Is All You Need” – an effort promoting the Amazon Music streaming service and highlighting its integration with the brand’s voice-activated Echo speakers – as a case in point.

This initiative was centred around ads that synced floating, disembodied lips with vocals from star performers like Freddie Mercury, Whitney Houston, and Kendrick Lamar.

“It just doesn’t feel like Amazon,” conceded Cheever. (For more, read WARC’s event report: How agencies help Amazon make braver, bolder ads.)

“But there was something about it which was so true to the power of the differentiator for Amazon Music, which is that it’s got Alexa in it.”

Credit for this campaign, Cheever asserted, largely was due to Wieden+Kennedy, the independent creative-focused shop headquartered in Portland, Oregon, and one of Amazon’s agency partners.

“They came up with this idea, which we just thought was so risky and so scary,” Cheever said. “It was such a weird idea that really took that outside perspective [to conceive].”

A second proof point: a spot for the 2018 Super Bowl was a celebrity-packed affair featuring big names like rapper Cardi B, chef Gordon Ramsey, actors Rebel Wilson and Anthony Hopkins, and even Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s chief executive.

The commercial that aired before America’s largest TV audience originated with Lucky Generals, a London-based shop. D1, a creative team within the e-commerce retailer, worked on this effort, too.

“It was actually a pretty standard-deprivation strategy,” Cheever said, “but it was beautifully done. And we really, really love the agency we worked with.”

These shops – and other Amazon partners like R/GA, Johannes Leonardo and Hakuhodo – have thus played a key role for the brand.

“In this past year, I think some of the work that we did really would not have been as brave or bold if it hadn’t come from an agency,” Cheever said.

Sourced from WARC