The ad, filmed in the U.K., depicts a Christian pastor and a Muslim imam inadvertently exchanging the same gift with each other.
As ethnic and religious tension roils across the secular West, Amazon.com has come out with a holiday ad that highlights the sometimes unifying spirit of commerce.
Filmed in the U.K., it features a Christian pastor and a Muslim imam. Both are men of a certain age who, in addition to devotion to their respective faiths, share a lifelong friendship, and are depicted commiserating about the pain in their knees.
Enter Amazon Prime. As soon as they take leave of each other, both men have the same idea. They whip out their smartphones and buy knee pads for each other, soon delivered by Amazon. These come in pretty handy in the act of worship, both at church and at the mosque.
Addressing the topic of religion in a commercial endeavor can ruffle some feathers. So Amazon worked with the Interfaith Alliance, the National Council of Churches and the Islamic Circle of North America to ensure that the depiction was accurate and didn’t offend anyone. The pastor in the ad is an actual vicar in London, and the imam is the principal of a Muslim school in the same city. The commercial was shot in the St. Dunstan and All Saints Stepney Church and in the East London Mosque, both in England’s capital.
The ad, which is airing in the U.S., the U.K., Germany and Austria, seems to have struck a chord in the wake of the U.S. election, as news coverage has been dominated by talk of tougher immigration laws, a surge in acts of vandalism allegedly motivated by ethnic differences and the discussion of registries for entrants from predominantly Muslim countries.
More than 1 million people have seen the ad on YouTube. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos praised the ad via one of his infrequent posts on Twitter. “Love this TV commercial for Amazon Prime. Very proud of our ad team,” he wrote.