Amazon's Gift of Celebrity

Celebrities... who doesn't love 'em? Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN  ) is betting lots of people do, and hopes to cash in on it with the introduction of its novel holiday marketing campaign. Dubbed the "Holiday A-List," big-time musicians, actors, authors, and pseudo-celebrities (like "Bachelor Bob") will have the chance to give a little gift to Amazon surfers this merry season.

Starting today and stretching over the next 60 days, Amazon.com's website will feature a particular celebrity daily offering up exclusive, never-before-seen content. Bruce Springsteen leads the pack, with a preview video clip from his upcoming DVD release, Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band Live in Barcelona.

The celebrity gift each day, whether it's a new story or a new single or some art from Michael J. Fox (no lie!), will be accessible for that day and that day only. And beyond this first week, Amazon's not giving the schedule for which star's masterpiece will appear when, though it did list some of the celebrities involved and the gifts they'll be giving.

That means if you've any hope of seeing a 1997 pre-fame Christmas morning home video from Trading Spaces host Paige Davis or reading the essay she's drafted, you better log in every day between now and Jan. 1. Goodness knows, I won't consider my yule complete without that bit of holiday cheer.

Oh, OK, while I sneer a little at the inherent silliness of this, I also think it's a quirky, corny idea that will work. Coming off its surprising third-quarter profit, Amazon's banking on a big holiday quarter to carry it to the land of ongoing profitability. If the buzz created by Sopranos writer, director, and producer David Chase's unveiling of a never-before-released scene from the show's third season can bring in more online shoppers, then good for Amazon.

And I can't act like I won't be right in there, watching the clips, listening to the songs, or reading the stories. Tomorrow, for instance, my favorite crazy comedian/musician Jack Black is on tap, with a drawing for us. In what has to be one of the funniest quotes ever from a public company's press release, he said, "I wanted the picture I drew to capture the essence of my band, so I drew my band-mate Kyle and I as brave warriors riding a unicorn that represents the uncontrollable power of Tenacious D."

Thank you, Amazon, for giving Jack Black an outlet for his art. I can't wait to log on tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that.

David Gardner recommended Amazon.com in the October 2002 issue ofMotley Fool Stock Advisor. Since then, shares are up 262% versus the S&P's 18.5% rise.


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