Amazon Christmas advert review: cynical heartstring tugging


Has there ever been anything so incongruous as Taika Waititi directing the Amazon Christmas advert?

The off-beat New Zealand director, who made his name with indie comedies like Hunt for the Wilderpeople, completed the transition to becoming a ‘Big Deal’ with his slew of Marvel films (the most recent being Thor: Love and Thunder).

In fact, this has clearly made him the director of choice when it comes to making trendy marketing videos. Having cut his teeth in 2020 with an advert for Coca-Cola, Waititi has achieved a double whammy this year: alongside an advert for Belvedere Vodka that features Daniel Craig - swinging his hips through the streets, by a pool, in a lift - this year’s big beast is Amazon.

Set to the obligatory indie song - You Hold Me Up, by US artist The Bones of J.R. Jones - this year’s offering tells the story of a handsomely moustachioed dad (who doesn’t look a million miles from handsome formerly moustachioed, now bearded, dad Taika Waititi), whose daughter is obsessed with a rather large snow globe.

She takes it everywhere: to the dentists, to school, to dinner, where she sets it on its own tablemat opposite her (the mother is mysteriously absent). It’s all leavened with Waititi’s classic light touch – the dentist scene in particular, where dad holds her hand dutifully, until it’s clear that what she actually wants to hold is her snow globe.

So for Christmas, what better gift is there for this strange child than a life-size snow globe of her very own?


Buying a paper shredder from (where else) Amazon, Dad dutifully shreds miles upon miles of spare newsprint and asks the neighbours to pitch in with securing other snow globe-adjacent props, such as a giant teddy bear, a fan and a Christmas tree.

When the big day comes, his daughter walks into their greenhouse to find a very sweet amateur recreated snow globe, which seems to thrill her no end (to my jaded eyes, it looked a bit depressing, but hey: kids have imagination).

As dad picks her up and blows shredded paper around with his new fan, Amazon’s Christmas messaging flashes up. This year, they’ve gone with “Joy is made”.

It’s all very heart-warming. But at the back of the mind there’s always a niggle: this advert has been made by Amazon. This home-made messaging, from the master of 21st century capitalism, feels a bit much as it seeks seem relatable and Christmas-cute; after all, what they really want us for us to spend big bucks on their website buying a zillion snow globes.

As a piece of art, it’s lovely. As a piece of marketing? In my eyes, it’s as cynical as they come.