Amazon is out with a new Kindle ad, but the commercial’s most attention-getting message has little to do with the e-reader itself.

Instead, it’s about gay marriage. Here’s what goes down in the 30-second spot:

1. Man on the beach has trouble using an iPad because of the glare.

2. Woman next to him, using a Kindle PaperWhite, lists off all the nice things about her device. “This is perfect at the beach,” she says of the Amazon product.

3. Convinced he needs a Kindle, man buys one using his iPad. He turns, smiles and looks at the woman. “We should celebrate,” he says, apparently ready to make a move on her.

4. Woman responds and rejects his offer: “My husband is bringing me a drink right now.”

5. Man responds: “So is mine.”

Then, both turn around and wave at their respective husbands, who are buying drinks at the bar.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen support for same-sex marriage out of the Amazon camp. Last July, in what was the largest individual gift to support same-sex marriage in the U.S., Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and his wife MacKenzie donated $2.5 million to a Washington state coalition working to approve Referendum 74. That measure was approved on the November ballot and upheld the state law protecting the rights of same-sex couples to marry.

Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates also made $100,000 donations to the effort to preserve same-sex marriage in Washington state.

Same-sex marriage has been legalized in nine states and the District of Columbia. As MarketWatch points out, Amazon is one of the first big companies to portray same-sex couples that are clearly married in an advertisement.

Last month, Bezos said the company’s Kindle business is showing significantly greater momentum than traditional books. After five years on the market, eBooks is a multi-billion dollar category for Amazon and growing fast, up approximately 70 percent last year.

Previously on GeekWire: expanding in Canada, plans to open new development center in March

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  • voleheart

    this is disgusting. i mean why be gay with the hot chick in the bathing suit?

    • Angie Person

      You are why we can’t have nice things.

    • alfredo_tomato

      She has bad breath.

  • Guest

    Shame on GeekWire for perceiving a single mention of a same-sex relationship as a commercial that “supports gay marriage.” Acknowledging that gay couples exist is not a political statement. Perhaps homosexuality makes you uncomfortable, Taylor, but please don’t project your own prejudices on your readers.

    • Vroo (Bruce Leban)

      Maybe you should check your prejudices. Until I got to your anonymous comment, I had no idea that Taylor was anti-gay. And I still don’t. There’s nothing that I see in the article that suggests that he is criticizing the ad or its message. He’s reporting the attention the ad is getting and says nothing about whether the ad is good or bad.

      I agree that the word “support” is making a judgment about what the ad is saying and I personally would have used the word “shows” instead of “supports”, since I would try to be neutral in journalistic reporting. But GeekWire’s standards allows a degree of editorial opinion and the word “support” is appropriate:

      2 a (1) : to promote the interests or cause of [ ]

      Furthermore, Amazon is on the record as supporting same-sex marriage so it’s reasonable to infer that the ad may also be intended to support that position.

      • Guest

        I’m not familiar with any negative reaction to the ad; all of the articles I see on Google News about it are positive. It seems to me that Taylor is reaching out to see if any GeekWire readers are bigoted enough to speak out against the Amazon ad. Aside from one anonymous troll, there aren’t any, so Taylor’s attempt to engage his homophobic readers in a discussion appears to have failed. As such, I congratulate Amazon for showing two gay persons in a normative, not promotional, way.

        • Vroo (Bruce Leban)

          “It seems to me that Taylor is reaching out to see if any GeekWire readers are bigoted enough to speak out against the Amazon ad.”

          Where exactly in the article does Taylor say he’s looking for negative reaction?

          Funny that you refer to another poster as an anonymous troll when you’re trolling here yourself. What’s your real agenda? Since you seem to have an ax to grind why not be honest about it?

  • Michael Hazell

    Who cares? It’s an ad.

  • guest

    I thought it was cute and challenged our preconceptions. Congrats to Amazon.

  • mark

    ‘Gay couple’ is not the same as ‘gay marriage.’ Marriage is between a man and a woman. Find another word for gay couple. Marriage means family (tragically, some married couples can’t have children though), at it’s core is the perfect expression of the ‘one’ that emerges from a wedding.

    • Maureen El-Tohamy

      And a family can easily consist of two men and their child or two women and ther child or a single parent and his/her children and a million other combinations of people that make up a family. Websters dictionary even offers new insight on the definition of marriage so you might want to go check that out.

      • alfredo_tomato

        A church marriage is just a dog and pony show. It has no legal meaning. Signing the marriage license accompanied by witnesses make it a legal contract. Denying others the right to that legal contract because of your religious beliefs is unAmerican.

        • apolloknowsall

          Creating a legal fiction, then demanding that people of religion must follow your new ‘dogma’ is unamerican.

          • nupark

            You don’t have to follow it — nobody is asking you to get gay married.

        • Enough Said

          A gay man has the same right as a straight man, they both have the right to marry a woman. You complain about the church, leave the church (including marriage) out of it. Lets talk civil unions, and I think 80% plus of the population would agree. There are plenty of straight couples out there that don’t want to marry, but want rights that gay couples seek.

      • apolloknowsall

        Legal fiction. Marriage is between man and wife. You want to create a new normal, but it will never be normal, and you know it. It is fake.

    • Anon

      “Marriage is between a man and a woman”

      Oh let me play the world’s saddest song on the world’s smallest violin for you.

  • Andrew

    Given Bezos’s $2.5M donation, it’s absurd to argue this ad does not represent support for gay marriage. Most experts estimate the less than 10% (hotly contested #) of the us population is gay…if you examine ad content and television programming it make it seem as though the number is much higher. I do not support gay marriage and think it’s foolish for amazon to devote this much attention based solely on the percent of possible buyers that are gay. I also find it funnt how people who do not support gay marriage are labled as bigots on this blog…probably by the same group of people who villified the CEO of Chick-fil-A. Everyone is entitled to their opinion in this country without ridicule.

    • Dex

      Wrong. Not all opinions are equal. Some opinions support the stripping the rights of some human beings (like those expressed by Dan Cathy of Chik-fil-A). Others support equality of rights amongst all human beings (like those expressed by Jeff Bezos of Amazon).

      And before you even mention it, your religious rights end where they begin infringing on others’ rights to equality.

      • Chris Copeland

        Opinions are equal when they come to sales. The customer is always right. So its bad business to alientate ANY customers. Politics & Religion is a bad thing to do for any business.

        • alfredo_tomato

          All I saw was an ad that uses the element of surprise at the end. I didn’t see it as an endorsement, I just saw it as a comedic device.

          Good ad.

          • xMatt

            It’s not an accident that the one dude refers to the other dude as his “husband.”
            Yes, it was relatively suprising and funny….. but also pretty obvious what the inentions were.
            I don’t know why in TV and movies, it seems more often than not, whenever there’s a gay character, there is some sort of political message tied behind it. Only recently have shows FINALLY started having characters that just happen to be gay… no agenda, no message. Like the guy in Happy endings. There’s no coming out of the closet message, or gay bashing message, or marriage, or whatever. He’s just a character that happens to be gay. It’s refreshing to see.

          • apolloknowsall

            It is done with the express purpose of weighing in on the culture war.

  • bad

    Horrible, how so you explain this to small kids?

    Keep that junk on Bravo, not on normal channels!

    Just bad!

    • alfredo_tomato

      Unless the kid has been sheltered to the point of total ignorance, they won’t be confused by the ad. It won’t turn them gay either.

    • Mike


    • Heath Mccormack

      What do you mean how do you explain it to children???? This can’t be a serious question. Being gay isn’t a back-room deal you idiot. You tell them some boys like boys and some girls like girls. Get your head out of your ass. Gays exist outside the Bravo network.

      • merle

        Sorry, one doesn’t go out of there way to tell children that it is acceptable to practice something that is inherently wrong. This screw-up (no pun intended)lifestyle is being practiced by a very small portion of the population that being crammed down our throats as normal when we all know that it is a very serious psychological illness that is being portrayed as everyday mainstream behavior –

  • Not

    The foolishness of some here is amazing…First of all the article does not condemn or condone the idea of same sex marriage. On that point…Homosexuality has not been proven to be genetic. Do the research yourself and read the “reports” so often used to justify this type of behavior. They are filled with “may be” and “appear to indicate” and used. Soon, child molesters, who are already using the same false claims and steps taken by the “pro-gay” community, will have pushed that idea into being ok. Add to this the facts that each and every time the subject is addressed in every holy book on the planet should be a clue that it is not acceptable to live or condone such a lifestyle. But, as shown in the study of world history mankind continues to think ”he is smarter” so the things allowed and ok are changed to fit current desires. As this mankind continues it will do as it has done in the past and destroy itself. And of course, the pro gay here do nothing to substantiate the claims but only attack and make false claims against those who speak out…as they are not able to support the idea with facts.

    • firewallender

      Did you really just compare gay people to child molesters?

      We’re talking about two consenting adults here, let me remind you.

    • Andrew Hayes

      An adult homosexual can consent. No child (or animal, since that’s probably the next thing you’re going to mention) ever will be able to.

  • xMatt

    My only issue with the ad is that I find it obnoxious when companies try to get political in their ads.
    I’d have the same, “huh…. what?… why?” Reaction if the ad had some obvious “marriage is only between a man and woman” type of message.
    It’s a similar annoyance I have for celebrities who try to be political. It’s just not the right time or place. Doesn’t matter if I agree or disagree with their opinion. They’re all annoying.

    • alfredo_tomato

      It isn’t politics, it is using a comedic device called “Juxtaposition.” You assume he is a straight man hitting on a pretty woman. The humor comes when our perception is turned on its head.

      • xMatt

        You can’t honestly believe this wasn’t an obvious ploy in support of gay marriage. The owner of Amazon is very outspoken about his stance on the issue and donates money in support of it. Which is fine, he’s entitled to his opinions….. but it’s annoying when it spills over into the world of advertising. Just sell us a Kindle, I could care less to hear about his political views!

        • alfredo_tomato

          I saw nothing in the ad saying the same sex couple was desirable or undesirable. The woman thought she was being hit on, and was proven wrong in a humorous way. Some times a joke is just a joke.

          • xMatt

            And sometimes a joke reveals what you truly believe.

            If Chick-fil-a ran an ad that had a very similar joke, only instead of smiling and laughing at the “that’s my husband” remark, the people said, “eww, gross….” would you still think it’s just a joke?

            Of course not, because we know what the CEO of Chick-fil-a thinks about gay marriage. Similarly, we know how the Amazon CEO thinks.

          • nupark

            If Chick-fil-a ran that ad, it would be hateful. This ad was just funny, which means you’re being hateful.

            Get over it.

          • xMatt

            That’s the thing, it’s not just funny. It’s also making a political statement…. which I find annoying (no matter what the statement is).

            Your stance of “I hate haters” makes me laugh though. That’s funny.

          • nupark

            What’s funny is thinking that “equal rights” includes the right to deny others their rights. That’s some ill-considered logic you’ve got there.

          • xMatt

            What are you talking about? Who said anything about rights? Not me!

            I’m only trying to make 1 point: it’s annoying when companies try to put political messages in their advertising.

            Not once have I talked about rights or anything like that. I don’t care what the political message in this ad is. I just don’t like political messages. I don’t use amazon because of their political stances. It’s the same annoyance I have for celebrities who try to get political. Just shut up and entertain us!

          • Enough Said

            JC Penny tried this a little over a year ago, and it backfired to the point the CEO is worried about his job, because he took JC Penny from bad to worse. As he was trying to push Ellen, 1000’s will lose their jobs in the coming weeks, because the American People didn’t see the humor in it. Besides, Amazon’s days are going to get worse to come with all these states requiring them to collect sales tax; Amazon had an agreeded contract in Indiana, and they are trying to renig on it now.

          • Enough Said

            A gay mans rights are the same as a Straight Man, both have the legal right to marry a woman. How is this violating a gay mans rights?

        • apolloknowsall

          agreed, this is nothing but a political ploy. Bezos is for homosexual marriage. He is using his company to further his political agenda. Not only have I cancelled my prime membership, my stock will be sold, as well.

  • alfredo_tomato

    Gay families tend to be better off financially. Less kids, more money might be why. Retailers are learning that, so why not compete for their money.

  • apolloknowsall

    This is not an ad for amzn products, this is an advertisement for homosexual marriage. Amazon has decided to step out into this culture war on the side of same-sex “marriage”

    Looks like the company that under-cuts Walmart on the way to the bottom lost this customer. I just cancelled my amazon prime membership that I have had for several years.

  • Doug Johnson

    Those who oppose sam sex marriage do so out of concern for an institution that has withstood thousands of years of attempted alteration and yet comes back to one-man, one-woman and fidelity. Kindle/Amazon is just out to make a buck.

  • Dissapointed Parent

    This ad is very disappointing. I was watching American idle with my sons the other night and the ad came on. My ten year old looked over at me at the end of the ad with a look of “what is going on”. The vast majority of America does not support same sex marriage and my religion does not support it. Amazon should stick to selling their product not a political agenda. I have an Amazon account and bought two Kindle Fires for my daughters at Christmas. I may need to reconsider my account with Amazon – if this keeps up my sons will get Nooks. Get your act together Amazon.

    • Andrew Hayes

      Apparently you don’t keep up with polls.

      • Enough Said

        Polls are one thing, Vote results are another. Besides, a gay man has the same rights as a straight man, both have the right to marry a woman.

    • bae28650

      American “idle” as you’ve called it seems to describe yourself more than the program. Especially since it’s American “Idol” …apparently you don’t keep up with much more than just polls.

  • mcsegeek1

    I wish they would stay out of controversial issues and just sell the kindle. Our country is polarized more than any time in its history, and all this does is polarize more. Ironic when you consider they are attempting the opposite.

  • unimpressed

    On the surface, you might be inclined to think, this marks a great step forward in social awareness and acceptance (unless you are one of the ignorant homophobes who seem to be all over these blogs), Wow, amazon is really progressive. It’s like they just elected the first gay president… Well, not quite. Perhaps if hte gay character had been the spokesperson for the kindle it would be a different story. but he’s actually not the spokesperson for their product. Think, Mac vs PC ads where the pc character is the slightly pudgy, utterly unhip, socially awkward, less desirable, dork. There it is overt. The characters are literal and explicit stand-ins for their respective products. It is humorous and lighthearted and harmless because dorks as a class have not been historically disenfranchised or the victims of hate crimes and crimes against humanity. Humorous but effective because they associate the pc with dorks and the target Mac audience doesn’t want to be dorky, they want to be hip.

    It’s not a sitcom. It’s a highly crafted message with a single minded mission: Sell more kindles by creating a positive association with the brand while simultaneously creating a negative association with the competing product. There where probably no fewer than 5 people who had to approve the color of the shorts he was wearing so it is certainly no accident or afterthought that his character happens to be gay.

    Every kindle ad i can recall, uses a bright, sunny outdoor environment because that is essentially the only environment in which the kindle excels. Every kindle ad, therefore, is a variation on the same theme. They are not really competing products. In every other respect, the ipad is the premier product. It is more capable, more up-market, cooler, etc, etc. everyone who can afford the iPad, buys the iPad. The kindle is great, but no one is using it to control their home entertainment system or ring up orders in their hip new bar.

    I would suspect that the kindle target market is almost by definition, lower income, less educated (statistically), and much more likely to be among other things, conservative, religious, and homophobic (a parameter statistically correlated to the former).

    So they are crafting a message where every association to the competing product is intended to consciously and unconsciously create a negative perception and association (respectively) in the target audience, and not only is the stand in gay, but the whole storyline (arguably sleezy guy, trying to hit on attractive woman while acting as a frustrated buffoon who can’t get it up on his iPad, with subtle undertones of simultaneously ridiculing the rich guy) is devised to make his sexual orientation the punch line.

    Think of a parallel ad for a practical but in no way sexy Toyota Camry driving past a broken down Ferrari with a flat tire. The silly rich guy crawling on the road next to his $200,000 car with his $10,000 suit oil stained and torn from trying to change his tire searching for the scattered pieces of his Rolex… Oh, and did I forget to mention, he’s a fag… Ha, ha, ha!

    Bezos might support same sex marriage, but this ad certainly doesn’t. it exploits homophobia to sell kindles.

  • JDooley

    Yay, Amazon!

  • Leah S

    This is great. BTW, Chick-fil-A created anger, not because the CEO expressed his views – so what – it was because money made from the company was used to support his views. Thus a happy gay couple would buy sandwiches and support anti-gay positions.

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