LONDON – A heartwarming Amazon online retailer advertisement has featured a Muslim imam for the first time in the United States, pushing a message of inter-faith friendship at a divisive time in the UK and the US.
“We think it is an authentic and charming story,” Simon Morris, director of advertising at Amazon told The Guardian on Wednesday, November 16.
“We think it is a legitimate story. We are conscious that some people may be sensitive to it. It is about selflessness and thinking of other people.”
The ad, Amazon’s latest for its Prime service, features a Muslim imam for the first time in a television ad shown in the United States.
Amazon said its new advert, which is launching in the UK, US and Germany, is about “selflessness and thinking of other people”.
The advertisement tells a story of a Christian vicar and a Muslim imam who are lifelong friends but who aren’t as sprightly as they were in their youth.
One day the vicar has a moment of inspiration and decides to do something to make the imam’s life and work a little easier. What the vicar doesn’t know, is that the imam also has the same idea for the vicar.
According to Amazon officials, the online retailer has worked with representatives of faiths across the globe, in the UK that includes the Christian and Muslim Forum, the Church of England and the Muslim Council of Britain, in order to make sure they portray the figures both accurately and sensitively.
“We wanted to get the story right because we were aware it might seem a sensitive subject to some people,” said Morris.
“We have gone to great lengths. It has taken us months to develop it. We wanted to do it well and be respectful to the religions who are featured in it.”
Releasing the ad after the election of Donald Trump, who talked of banning Muslims from the US, the company said it did not have to reassess its campaign.
“I’ve shown it at development and finished stage to all of our leadership who are all supportive,” he said.
“Because of the level of detail that has gone into the preparation and research and number of people we’ve shown it to, we think it is the right thing to do.”