Amazon.com : advertising & marketing profile

Profile subscribers click here for full profile

Internet retailer Amazon claims to offer "Earth's Biggest Selection", a mammoth range of products which now goes far beyond books and music to include anything from automobile parts to groceries and from clothing to household furniture. The business is firmly established as the #1 internet retailer worldwide (though it faces increasingly strong competition from Chinese rivals operating mainly in Asia). No other company has done so much to establish the reliability and functionality of e-commerce. But Amazon also historically suffered from low profit margins, and rival companies tended to outpace it in earnings growth. That laggard performance appeared to change in 2007, helped along by the launch of the Kindle electronic reader. Huge subsequent investment in infrastructure and technology prompted another slump in profitability in the 2010s. However, the evolution of the Kindle device and its various offshoots, and the rapid evolution of the Prime membership club has seen the emergence of a new role for Amazon as an entertainment broadcaster and creator. At the same time, the group has made a renewed commitment to increasing its profit, not just its revenues, and the result has been a stellar increase in its stock valuation. It has also diversified aggressively, not least through a deal in 2017 to acquire bricks and mortar organic grocery retailer Whole Foods Market for almost $14bn.

Selected Amazon advertising

Which agencies handle advertising for Amazon? Find out more from the Adbrands Account Assignments database

Who are the competitors of Amazon? See Retailing and Media for other companies. Also see Best Global Brands

Subscribers only: Adbrands profile
Account assignments & selected contact information

Adbrands Company Profiles provide a detailed analysis of the history and current operations of leading advertisers, agencies and brands worldwide, and include a critical summary which identifies key strengths and weaknesses. Adbrands Account Assignments tracks account management for the world's leading brands and companies, including details of which advertising agency handles which accounts in which countries for major markets. Subscribers may access the following website links:

Amazon.com website

Brands

Endless.com CreateSpace
Audible iMdb
ShopBop Kindle

Recent stories from Adbrands Weekly Update:

Adbrands Daily Update 8th Feb 2019: There are certain advantages to being the world's richest man. One such is having the means to fight back against scandalmongering tabloid journalism. Amazon founder & CEO Jeff Bezos is also owner of the Washington Post newspaper, which has, along with the New York Times, been a relentless critic of President Trump and also of the suspected shady dealings of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. That has made him a target for Trump's close ally David Pecker, owner of bottom-feeding publishing company American Media Inc, which publishes the National Inquirer and other sleazy tabloids. Earlier this year, the aptly named Pecker published an exposé of an alleged extramarital affair conducted by Bezos, a move which prompted his wife to file for divorce. Bezos commissioned investigators to find out how AMI obtained a collection of intimate photographs and texts between Bezos and his alleged girlfriend. At the same time, the Washington Post has alleged that the exposé was politically motivated. Now AMI have threatened to publish further intimate material unless Bezos and the Post publicly apologise for any suggestion of political motivation. Bezos has responded by going public with the whole story, including the blackmailing emails from AMI. In an excellent and lengthy piece on blog platform Medium Bezos writes: "Rather than capitulate to extortion and blackmail, I've decided to publish exactly what they sent me, despite the personal cost and embarrassment they threaten... If in my position I can't stand up to this kind of extortion, how many people can?"

Adbrands Daily Update 7th Feb 2019: In its 10-K filing for fiscal 2018, Amazon disclosed advertising & promotional expenditure of a whopping $8.2bn. That figure was up more than 30% on the previous year and puts the ecommerce giant among the top five spenders worldwide. In 2017, only two companies - Unilever and L'Oreal - disclosed marketing expenditure in excess of $8bn. Neither has yet filed annual reports for 2018.

Adbrands Daily Update 1st Feb 2019: Amazon was the latest US company to report exceptional performance in 4Q but warn of speedbumps for the current year. For the final quarter it recorded a 3rd consecutive record quarterly profit, up 63% year-on-year to $3bn, on sales which rose 20% to over $72bn. Full year revenues were up almost a third to $232.9bn while net income more than tripled to $10.1bn. Own-products performed especially well. The company said the new Echo Dot smart speaker was its single best-selling product globally across all categories over the holiday season. Separately, the company's income from advertising continued to soar, reaching $10bn for the year. Amazon has already overtaken Apple as the world's most valuable company by market cap; it will overtake its rival in revenues as well in 2019. But... the company lowered its guidance for both revenues and profits for the current year, warning that growth would be slower as a result of government restrictions on sales in India and currency headwinds, and that profits would be dented by higher spending on global infrastructure.

Adbrands Social Media 30th Jan 2019: "Not Everything Makes The Cut". Only a couple of days after sneak-peeking some teasers for its Big Game spot, Amazon has released the full version, and it's great. Lucky Generals is back at the helm, working with the retailer's inhouse agency, and the idea builds on the same self-deprecating premise as last year's ad. Technology is great, but what happens when it goes wrong? Last time round, Alexa lost her voice; here are a few other times Alexa didn't work the way she's supposed to. Harrison Ford is the biggest name involved. (When was the last time he appeared in an ad? Has he ever?). Also featured are actor Forest Whitaker, comedians Ilana Glazer & Abbi Jacobson and identical twin astronauts Mark & Scott Kelly.

Adbrands Social Media 5th Nov 2018: "Can You Feel It?". Not willing to allow any significant lead to physical retailers, Amazon is quick out of the gates with its own Christmas campaign, once again from Lucky Generals. It's a bright and happy little film, reprising the singing boxes introduced by the same agency this time last year. Perhaps a bit of added humour, instead of just general good humour, would have been the cherry on top, as with Lucky Generals' splendid 'Alexa Loses Her Voice' Super Bowl spot. But judging by the number of alternative language versions all released at the same time, the challenge this time for the Generals was to find a concept that would work globally rather than just in the US.

More about Amazon from Adbrands Weekly Update


Subscribe to Adbrands.net to access the full profile and account assignments


Brands & Activities

see full profile

Financials

see full profile

Management & Marketers

see full profile

Background

Free for all users | see full profile for current activities: In the early 1990s, investment banker Jeff Bezos saw the possibilities of selling products to a mass market via the new and expanding internet, which seemed to offer a sales channel unfettered by the physical logistics involved in operating a retail outlet and managing inventory. He selected books as his commodity because they were comparatively fashion-free and offered a high profit margin per copy. He moved from New York to Seattle in 1994 to be near a big wholesale supplier, and launched Amazon.com the following July. 

Even in those dark days of the internet, the site took off quite quickly, and by the end of the year, Amazon was selling more than 100 books a day. Embracing the communal nature of the web, the site encouraged buyers to submit reviews of the books they had purchased. While this surprised and angered some suppliers, it greatly enhanced Amazon's relationship with its customers. By the end of 1996, sales had risen to almost $16m, before rocketing to more than $140m a year later, encouraging the company to adopt the tag "Earth's Biggest Bookstore". The company floated in 1997, and in 1998 broadened its range with the addition of CDs and videos. Also that year, responding to plans by German group Bertelsmann to establish a rival book service in Europe, Amazon acquired two smaller rivals - Bookpages in the UK and ABC Bucherdienst in Germany - which rebranded as local versions of Amazon. 

In 1999, toys, electronics, software, video games and home improvement joined the mix. That year sales raced through the billion-dollar barrier to hit $1.6bn, and Time magazine selected Bezos as its Person of the Year. The company also established outposts in France and Japan for the first time. But within just a year, Amazon was already beginning to attract detractors, who warned that the business was spreading itself too thinly. Investments in other online services such as pharmacy drugstore.com, delivery service kozmo.com and pet supplies outlet pets.com all proved write-offs. As if to cement Amazon's tarnished reputation, the group reported a massive $1.4bn loss for 2000. 

Bezos launched a major restructuring in 2001, laying off 15% of its work force. The company also muscled into the territory of rival eBay, introducing person to person transactions via its ZShops third-party stores and auction services, as well as taking over the online operations of other companies struggling with their own e-commerce service, such as Target and Toys "R" Us. Those moves soon began to deliver results, and the group delivered its first modest quarterly profit at the end of 2001, and again in 2002. A year later the company reported its first two consecutive quarters of profit at the end of the year. In 2004, it established its seventh online portal with the acquisition of China's leading internet retailer, Joyo.com.

In early 2006 it began developing a music download service to compete directly with Apple's iTunes. According to press reports, the company was considering a subscription plan model broadly similar to that offered by mobile phone operators: users would subscribe to a dedicated Amazon download service and receive a custom-made music player as part of the offer, pre-loaded with a selection of promoted tracks which can then be swapped or updated online. By mid-year it became apparent that Amazon had abandoned the music service in face of the continuing dominance of Apple, but was instead preparing to launch a video download service. This arrived in September under the name Unbox. See full profile for current activities


All rights reserved © Mind Advertising Ltd 1998-2019