Tuning In to Amazon's Resistance Radio

WE Communications Blog: Technology

— Heather Scott, WE 

Amazon has figured out a clever way to tap into the cultural zeitgeist by launching “Resistance Radio” at SXSW over the weekend. The SXSW activation is just one part of a creative marketing campaign to promote the upcoming third season of the Amazon original series, The Man in the High Castle. The dystopian series, which is loosely based on a Philip K. Dick novel, reimagines the U.S. in the 1960s if the Axis powers had won World War II.

Amazon worked with popular artists like Norah Jones, Danger Mouse and The Shins to create – in just one month – a retro album featuring covers of popular songs from the sixties.  The fake internet-based radio station is broadcast by the “Resistance,” or fictional Americans from the show, who are attempting to fight the Third Reich, or the Nazi regime.

Amazon Resistance RadioThe immersive experience at the SXSW Amazon Prime House was right “off the set” – with period costumes, retro music and WWII memorabilia. Once in the house, you must complete several challenges blending analog and modern technology with the show’s content to unlock a secret room behind a bookcase. 

Amazon was smart to take advantage of the political climate – with post-election emotions still high, people are looking inwards to reflect on their personal values and purpose. And they're making conscious decisions to support brands that share a sense of purpose.

The marketing campaign for Resistance Radio comes at the right time – tightly connected to both entertaining content and a significant cultural moment. In fact, the campaign’s accompanying hashtag, #ResistanceRadio, began to trend on Twitter over the weekend because some mistook it for a real anti-Trump radio station. Pro-Trump supporters used the hashtag to voice their displeasure, while those on the anti-Trump side used it as a symbol of – you guessed it – resistance.

Regardless of your political views you have to agree that Resistance Radio is tapping into strong social sentiment, driving interest in the new season and also allowing Amazon as a brand to participate in the political conversation in a subtle way without having to shout it out. As our Brand Agility Index research found after the Super Bowl, brands that choose to enter the political arena must ensure they do so in an authentic, engaging way that makes sense for their product. Amazon’s Resistance Radio is an example of a brand doing just that.


Connect with Heather Scott on Twitter: @heatherand