Do Rapunzel and Cleopatra Live Happily Ever After on Amazon?

As if Amazon hasn’t permeated every corner of our lives already, they’ve succeeded again by optimizing the stories from our past. But, will Amazon’s newest ad campaign touting Rapunzel and goddess Cleopatra live happily ever after?

On top of having their delivery vans double-parked and in my way when I’m in downtown Boston, the mega behemoth internet retailer selected a princess confined to a tiny tower and an ancient Egyptian queen for their new ads. Quite a combination. 

The new ads reach far back into the past to put a decidedly Amazonian twist on classic stories. These spots are 30 and 15-second videos featuring the iconic characters Rapunzel and Cleopatra using Amazon Prime to shop their way out of trouble.  

In the Rapunzel ad, the princess is no longer stranded because she can order a ladder with her smartphone. With a snappy hip-hop soundtrack, she escapes from the castle to start her own hairdressing empire. There’s no prince in sight because who needs guys when you’ve got the glitz and glam of running a business? Plus, what’s an ad without booming music? I always have the mute button nearby for solace.

Cleopatra’s ad is similarly light and fun, with the Egyptian queen streaming a popular Eddie Murphy movie, deciding that she wants to help out her erstwhile slaves, then shopping on (where else) Amazon Prime to order them gloves, goggles, and even dune buggies. Who knew caravans could be so fun!

Each spot takes a twist on classic fairy tales — it’s a savvy, applause-worthy move, especially coming from a company owned by a man who recently tied up the priciest divorce in history. It’s hard to believe Jeff Bezos could be so forgiving of the fairer sex, but then again it’s probably difficult to hold a grudge when you’re being blasted into the atmosphere at 2200 miles per hour. And we won’t discuss the symbolism of the rocket or company logo. 

Okay, so let’s talk Amazon. Do they have to be so good at everything? First they turned the book industry on its head, then moved on to home goods — are fairytales next? Should kindergarteners be looking over their shoulders, lest they be ambushed by a gaggle of double-parked Amazon drivers, delivering the latest and greatest storybook endings on demand?  

Of course, one character is from a fairytale and one is torn from the pages of history, but I think you get my point. Who thinks modern audiences will be able to tell which one is which? (Not me, that’s for sure.).

Like almost everything Bezos and Co. do, this is a smart move. In a world of shortened attention spans and a shrinking share of universally recognizable entertainment properties (thanks in part to streaming services like Amazon), Amazon has chosen to fall back on two personalities from the past to help drive more business in the future. Maybe next time they can do that famous Aesop’s fable about Alexa. But do they ask me

Howard Davidson


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