Behind the Work in association withThe Immortal Awards

How ‘Prime Changes Everything’ by Retelling Classic Stories

Advertising Agency
London, UK
The Amazon Prime and Joint teams speak to LBB’s Nisna Mahtani about retelling classic tales of Medusa and Napoleon with a Prime twist

In the new Amazon campaign, ‘Prime Changes Everything’, the streaming service partners with creative agency Joint, to retell the stories of Medusa and Napoleon with a modern and comical twist. With Morgana Robinson narrating the stories, it’s clear that the funny factor was a priority, as well as Medusa’s modernisation and Napoleon’s historical accuracy. 

In Medusa’s retelling, she pops onto Prime to pick up a pair of sunglasses and makes friends with her charming personality, only lifting her glasses and turning people to stone here and there, when she meets unlikable characters. Backed up with Nicki Minaj’s ‘Chun-Li’, the modern Medusa’s snake hair and giant tail come into their own as she navigates the 21st century. 

On the other hand, the team worked hard to capture aspects of historical accuracy with Napoleon’s retelling, green jacket and all. Though the extras on set didn’t quite get past the French collection of comedy, being surrounded by cannons and military horses in a vast green field made quite the impression on set.

Amazon and Joint spoke to LBB’s Nisna Mahtani about conceptualising and executing the campaign.

LBB > How did you go about choosing which classic stories to retell? 

Amazon & Joint> It was exciting, but daunting, to realise that our starting point for source material was pretty much every story ever told. We looked at a whole range of characters from fairy tales, to ancient mythology and real historical figures. The challenge then was to figure out how they could use Prime in the most fun and imaginative ways. 

LBB> The script is very modern and sassy, especially when it comes to Medusa’s story retelling. Can you talk us through the process behind crafting the scripts? 

Amazon & Joint> We started to imagine what problems someone like Medusa would have today. Turning people to stone is helpful if you are a monstrous Gorgon that wants to live undisturbed, but what if you just want to make some friends? We imagined Medusa to be the kind of person that would be great to hang out with at a party. She’s wasted down in that cave. 

LBB> We’re sure the scripts must have had changes over time. Were there any elements that you added that weren’t initially in the first drafts? 

Amazon & Joint> Yes the original idea grows and improves over time. The Amazon and Joint teams enjoy building scripts together, and always come from a customer first perspective. Then at the next stage, Wayne Mclammy had so many brilliant ideas and a natural comedy writer’s brain. So even on set, there were new ideas being suggested and tried out on camera. The barman turning to stone at the end was originally going to be an accident, but making Medusa do it deliberately gave her more attitude and felt even funnier. 

LBB> While creating the dialogue, did you have particular voices in mind? And did it deliver your vision in the final campaign? 

Amazon & Joint> From the very beginning, we knew we wanted a voice with strong comic energy. Morgana Robinson came up early on as she’s not only a phenomenal talent but deeply funny as well. We spent hours in the studio crafting ways for her to come across as modern and likeable, but crucially quite cheeky too. 

LBB> Was there anything you were eager to include in either the Medusa or Napoleon retelling? 

Amazon & Joint> There’s so much detail in each of them, where do we begin? Everything you see in Napoleon is historically accurate. Such as the trademark green Chasseur jacket with a French imperial eagle pinned to it that Napoleon used to wear, and the bed is also very similar to one he died on during his exile to St Helena.

LBB> Do you have any favourite behind the scenes moments from the campaigns and can you share these with us? 

Amazon & Joint> Napoleon standing in a field surrounded by cannons and military horses doing a full stand-up set of French jokes to an audience of extras who didn’t speak the language was a strange moment. There was also an official on-set snake-catcher (yes, this job exists) padding around the set, making sure none of us got an unwelcome bite as we peered through the monitor. 

LBB> Is there anything else you’d like to add? 

Amazon & Joint> It‘s a genuine pleasure to collaborate on a project driven by partners who want to deliver the very best. Amazon and Joint share an ambition to always make things better, which in turn leads to working with other people at the top of their game, such as Erik Messerschmidt the DoP who just won the Oscar for Mank. We can’t wait to see where Prime Changes Everything takes us next.

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