SEATTLE: Tom Brokaw, R.E.M., Christy Turlington, and Hillary Clinton are among the many celebrities spreading more than holiday cheer at Amazon.com. They're also helping the internet retailer's PR efforts move in a new direction.
Since November 3, Amazon has presented the "Holiday A-List," where each day a new celebrity offers exclusive content - such as never-before-released songs or new short stories - to the website's customers. This represents an effort to tie Amazon's PR and marketing toward endeavors that benefit the company's customers, said Kathy Savitt, VP of strategic communications.
"We got rid of our paid advertising to put more money into lower prices and paid shipping," said Savitt. "Our marketing and PR strategy is to focus more on ways to benefit the customer. There's a bit of blurring of the lines between marketing and PR. [The A-List] isn't the only thing we're doing. But it shows how we're offering more to customers by becoming the epicenter of exclusive content for any of these areas, whether it's cooking or electronics."
Amazon worked with United Talent Agency in Los Angeles to gain access to the celebrities, while New York-based Dobbin/Bolgla Associates helped with media relations.
The debut of the A-List garnered heavy media coverage, from the likes of The Washington Post, USA Today, The Hollywood Reporter, and other print, broadcast, and online media outlets, from trade publications and local newspapers to the celebrities' own fan sites.
"If you had any doubt about Amazon's recovery, pull up your socks," wrote US News & World Report. "The online bookseller has become such a staple of pop consumerism that even controversy-averse media and political types are climbing aboard."