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The moral of this story: Never underestimate a granny with a glint in her eye.
While it may seem that three elderly women are where they should be—bundled together on a park bench, watching some bobsledding kids from the sidelines in Amazon’s holiday ad—they soon prove otherwise.
What follows, after an assist from an overnight delivery and a gentle nudge from the ringleader, is an age-defying, endorphin-releasing thrill ride down a snowy hillside for the adventurous trio.
There are shades of Cocoon in “Joy Ride,” a beautifully cast instant classic that layers in enough backstory for viewers to pick up on the decades-long bond between the women. And the soundtrack—an instrumental version of the Beatles classic “In My Life”—is, well, note perfect.
The concept was inspired by consumers’ ideas and traditions, according to Jo Shoesmith, Amazon’s vice-president and global chief creative officer.
“The stories we tell serve as a reminder that sometimes the joy you receive from doing something special for those you love can uplift us all at this time of year,” Shoesmith said in a statement.
Wild at heart
Stars of the short film said they were drawn to the stereotype-busting theme.
“Nostalgia in older age can often be framed as something overly sentimental that you yearn for, so I feel immensely proud that we were able to flip that narrative on its head and tell a story of three women who don’t just relive memories, but make new ones,” Maya Waterman, the actor who plays the lead character, said in a statement.
Annie O’Donnell, another actor in the ad, said she’s accustomed to being typecast and will “happily play the role of someone’s sweet grandmother.”
Instead, the Amazon ad provided “an opportunity to shake off preconceptions and show we are not just ‘young at heart’ but still throwing ourselves into life.”
“Joy Ride” debuted Sunday in the U.K. and Europe, with the U.S. and Canada following the next week. Running through the end of December, the ad will fan out across broadcast TV, in-theater, social channels and streaming and online video.
High-profile media buys in the U.S. will include the Billboard Music Awards, the Latin Grammys and holiday content on the Hallmark Channel.
Still to come: three more ads in the series, under the umbrella tagline, “Joy is Shared,” specific to Black Friday, Cyber Monday and last-minute deals.