Roughly a month ago, a San Francisco-based advertising company named Amazon Advertising released a series of videos that are too clever to overlook. As we know with most promotional material, the goal is often to set yourself, or your brand, apart from the similar. This idea and the struggles of forging identity clearly theme this set of videos, as Amazon Advertising created a mini interview series with regular Joes and Janes who share names with famous celebrities. In a sense, for the first time on this scale, the participants are creating their own brand as individuals, individuals with mistaken identities. We delve into their experiences with being constantly confused for someone of more notable social status. This in itself is pretty amusing, but it’s the ending twist that gives these videos their punch.
Within each clip, we hear the funny, creepy, and awkward anecdotes confessed by these people who share their names with Hollywood celebrities. Renee Zelwegger, Justin Bieber, David Letterman, Jon Stewart, and Alice Cooper account for just some of the (un?)fortunate few (up for debate) who will forever have their names associated with their famous name-twin. In consequence, some of these people have had the displeasure of stalkers, the surprise of love letters and locks of hair, and the obligation to frequently disappoint hotel and flight staff once they realize the reality of the situation. It’s an interesting predicament that most of us will never have experience within our lifetime.
During the tail-end of the clip, Renee Zelwegger (see how misleading it is?) expresses to the camera how excited she is to be shooting a commercial for Amazon, asking anxiously when it’ll air. She is then revealed that she isn’t shooting a commercial for the international commerce company, but instead the smaller advertising company “Amazon” that shares the same name with the juggernaut American brand. Watch her face drop. Essentially, she experiences the same firsthand let-down they bestow on others in their everyday… and it’s all caught on camera. You get to watch a little part of her crumble into oblivion as she unintentionally mimics the reaction of a disappointed “fan”, like those described throughout their stories.
Amazon Advertising is having fun and playing with the fact that they will more than likely be confused with and/or overshadowed by the larger Amazon brand. Instead of changing their name, they’re branding themselves as the unfortunate yet proactive victim of circumstance. It’s funny, and people respond to well self-debasing humour. They let us in on the laugh, while having fun with people who live a similar scenario. It’s a little meta and a whole lot of smart. Instead of trying to go toe-to-toe with Amazon or restructure their company name, they embrace the path of least resistance that many would probably avoid. It’s a kind of declaration that personifies their company in a positive sense all the while being entertaining.