Continues to Push Boundaries CEO Jeff Bezo recently appeared on 60 Minutes, where he discussed a future 30-minute drone delivery system for packages up to five pounds. The interview aired the night before Cyber Monday, a day when the Amazon website typically has high sales. CNBC quoted Matt Briton, founder and CEO of tech ad agency MRY, as saying that the timing of the announcement makes it a publicity stunt. Briton said, “There’s this sort of a sensationalist headline created from the interview. Over time it becomes less about the drone story now and more about Amazon being top of mind.”

Zintro recently spoke with several industry experts about their opinion on Bezo’s announcement and its effect on Cyber Monday shopping.

Angeles Peinado is an entrepreneur with a strong background in global emerging markets. Peinado explains, “Amazon is fully aware that any initiative will appear as an immediate headline. They know their competitors- eBay did not perform as well during 2013. The Chinese giant Suning is moving forward quite rapidly to a market which could mean a potential 3 billion consumers, the Far East.”

Peinado also discusses Amazon’s place in the market. “Amazon brand global brand awareness has increased 29 percent during 2013. That´s a fact, stemming from such things as recent agreements with electronic wallets companies, intelligent logistic hubs and an incredible control of mass media marketing. Amazon understands the retail market- brands like H&M, Zara (Inditex), and Walmart can appear timid as competitors. Amazon is quietly introducing new brand distribution agreements: luxury goods (highest growth ever), a beta platform for fresh food (new boutique), and video games.”

Advertising and marketing expert James Brush finds Bezo’s announcement to be a wise one. “It was a smart move by Bezo and his PR Agency,” says Brush. “Whether response is positive or negative, this was news-worthy enough to be credible ‘news’ and will result in significant ‘top of mind’ results that will benefit Amazon. Whether 60 minutes was paid to air this story when it did, or not, is a moot point – it was smart marketing and PR by Amazon.”

Kahshanna-Evans is the Director of Public Relations at Kissing Lions. She says, “Jeff Bezo’s appearance on 60 Minutes addressing octocopters was factual, spot on and really well-timed. What made Bezo’s interview captivating was his belief in Amazon and his understanding of which areas in business are in need of disruption. Staying innovative means looking to the future, not as a stunt or gimmick, but because, as Bezo mentioned, that is where the future is taking business. If Bezo had announced Amazon’s logo would be beamed on the moon, for example, and then never continued his campaign in person, that would be a stunt, and a lackluster one.

“I applaud exceptional and well-timed PR,” continues Evans, “but I think Bezo’s choices should be especially of interest to small business owners with niche products and services. We have entered a world market of entrepreneurs, and without understanding public relations and cross discipline marketing communications, small business owners will watch executives like Bezo talk about the exciting future of his company while they struggle with how to secure brand faith for their products or services by creating a strong PR presence of their own. Small business owners have a wealth of public relations and media resources but are often conditioned to think small and focus on public relations and media later on when they grow in size. I think that is a big mistake, though. Bezo’s represented his brand by sharing an inside look at future delivery choices Amazon customers may have to choose from. That’s his job. Ours is to stay centered and weather the ever changing landscape right here on the ground.”

Public relations expert Steve Gold Aagrees that the Bezo interview was well-timed. “Jeff Bezo is a smart guy and the use of drones to expedite delivery of the massive volume of Amazon e-commerce, especially during the busiest shopping season, makes sense. It certainly caught my attention when it appeared in the news. I would not, however, call this a publicity stunt. A publicity stunt is a manufactured event created to capture media attention. An example of a stunt would be hiring a great rap group to sing Amazon’s praises on top of the Empire State Building. My take on the drone story is that Amazon has savvy PR support that evaluated the best way of positioning Amazon activities to journalists for earned media. This was a PR coup rather than a publicity stunt.”

Gerard Corbett, Chair and CEO of Redphlag, LLC, considers Bezos to be a ‘smart and savvy retailer.’ Corbett says, “The discussion of the potential of drone delivery vehicles was likely designed to do two things. First, generate top of mind for leading into the holiday selling season. Second, he is attempting to put a stake in the ground regarding the future of advanced technology to the ever growing Amazon retail empire. Bezos well understands the logistics of employing drones and the likelihood that it will come to pass or not. He is stimulating an entire industry to think out of the box about delivery systems and the use of technology in satisfying customers’ demands for greater delivery speeds. Drones may not likely come to pass. But he has started the conversation to engage in further dialogue and perhaps achieve new models for distribution.”

Whether or not the Bezo interview was a publicity stunt, Amazon is enjoying record-high sales, as are other e-commerce websites.  According to International Business Machines Corp., online sales grew 20 percent on Cyber Monday 2013, making it the biggest online shopping day in history.

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