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September 15, 2010

Gadgets -Amazon's Aggressive New Ad Campaign Eyes the iPad


In an attempt to convince consumers that the Kindle is the superior electronic reader, Amazon.com (News - Alert) began an aggressive ad campaign this week taking aim at competing devices including Apple’s iPad.

The ad, which depicts a man fumbling with the glossed screen of an unnamed tablet PC on a poolside beach chair, was released to both television and Amazon’s youtube channel Monday.

When the man asks his neighboring sunbather “how are you reading in this light?” she responds, "It's a Kindle — $139. I actually paid more for these sunglasses."

This marks a departure from Amazon’s traditional advertisements styles which seldom made mention of competitors, and were often lighter affairs featuring bright music and imagery. This ad seeks to highlight the benefits of the Kindle’s screen and highlight its price point, while almost directly implying that the inferior generic tablet in the man’s hands is an iPad.

Amazon sells a $139 a version of the device that can wirelessly download books over Wi-Fi; a version with 3G and Wi-Fi costs $189. Amazon has also changed stances in their distribution methods, which was once online only, but will be changing to accommodate brick and mortar stores like Best Buy (News - Alert) in the coming months.

While the Kindle lacks multimedia support Apple’s popular iPad, which starts at $499, is a touch-screen-enabled device that can surf the web and play video in addition to its ability to read books. Though more expensive than the Kindle, the multi-functionality of the iPad has lured many away from stand alone e-readers, and has sold more than 3 million units since its release in April.

But the iPad's success is not necessarily bad for  Amazon. The iPad has an app capable of reading books sold in the Kindle format, so it will continue to generate e-book sales for them in the foreseeable future.

E-reading is just one of markets in Seattle-based Amazon and Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple (News - Alert) share. Music and movie distribution are also part of their continuing turf wars. Competition between the two recently came to a head when apple unveiled its newly designed iTV and announced it would be renting show episodes at 99 cents apiece from the iStore. Shortly after, news came from Amazon that it would be allowing customers to buy and keep episodes indefinitely for the same 99 cent price point.

Apple spokesman Steve Dowling and Amazon spokesman Drew Herdener have yet to comment on the ad or its implications.


Chris DiMarco is a Web Editor for TMCnet. He holds a master’s degree in journalism from Quinnipiac University. Prior to joining TMC (News - Alert) Chris worked with e-commerce provider Suresource as a contact center representative and development analyst. To read more of Chris’ articles, please visit his columnist page.


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