While no one has coined a catchy portmanteau name yet, Amazon is extending its business beyond e-commerce and cloud computing to include the oldest medium, print.
The new offering allows marketers to put ads for third parties on delivery boxes. Previously, boxes only carried printed messages for Amazon’s own products and services.
The new business kicked off with eye-catching yellow boxes promoting Universal Pictures’ upcoming “Minions” movie, the latest installment in the “Despicable Me” series. One typical ad featured three cartoon characters identified by name, the movie release date (July 10), and a URL for a dedicated microsite on the Amazon site.
The ads also invite recipients to post a picture of themselves with the yellow box on Twitter, with the hashtag #MinionBoxes, to enter a sweepstakes to win a $1,000 Amazon gift card.
Although Amazon isn’t divulging how much the campaign cost Universal, revenue from this and future deals could help offset delivery costs, allowing Amazon to offer lower delivery prices (or just pocket the savings).
That could provide a considerable boost as the online emporium comes under pressure from investors to actually turn a profit, while continuing to grow and conquer new areas of online business.
The box ads debut not long after Amazon began offering free same-day delivery for Amazon Prime members in 14 major U.S. cities, as long as the item costs over $35. For items costing less, Amazon is currently charging a $5.99 delivery fee. Non-Prime customers have to pay a delivery fee of $9.98.
Amazon delivers around 3.5 million boxes per day, which compares favorably with the circulation of traditional print media like newspapers. However, it’s not clear whether Amazon will begin offering geotargeting for printed box ads, for example enabling targeting by ZIP code.