Amazon Bets on Superstars to Bowl Over Smart Home Users


It’s Super Bowl time – my favorite time of year! Not for the football, but for the commercials (yes, I’m *that* person). Of course, the food is a close second.

Super Bowl commercials cost brands millions of dollars, but they are talked about for a month before the big game, and for years after (if done very right – or very wrong).

Amazon has put its smart home assistant, Alexa, in the 2018 Super Bowl commercial lineup, and, in Super Bowl commercial tradition, has enlisted the help of celebrities across the film, food and music industries to help its spot gain attention.

The commercial is, of course, rooted in comedy, though it does leave some lingering questions. More on that later.

A trend that emerged in recent years is for companies to release their Super Bowl commercials online ahead of the big game, and Amazon was not an exception this year. They first tried out some teasers for the ad online, but have since given us a look at the full, glorious one and a half minutes of their Alexa ad and its super fun.

The ad features celebrities including Gordon Ramsay, Cardi B, Rebel Wilson and the legendary Anthony Hopkins stepping in for Alexa after she “loses her voice.” The spot opens with Alexa giving someone the morning weather report then breaking out into coughs. We cut to what looks like an Amazon office or headquarters where (richest man in the world) Jeff Bezos frantically talks to his not-so-confident staff about their back up plan. Of course, they question the validity of Alexa even being able to lose her voice, but it’s really just a side note. I mean, that couldn’t really happen. Not really.

The backup plan is to wire celebrities into Echo devices using headsets so that they can respond to customer inquiries. Of course, this is a ridiculous concept, since the entire point of having a smart home assistant is that it is connected to artificial intelligence. But, I’m willing to overlook that as well, because the spot is just good fun and they actually drill in this concept with the spot’s finale.

So, obviously, these celebrities aren’t able to deliver the results that Alexa can, and hijinks ensue. The commercial ends with Alexa, seeming to have gotten “better,” saying that she’ll take it from here.

It’s a fun spot, but some are speculating that there might be some hidden meaning about the future of the Echo family and Alexa in the commercial. Mainly, the celebrities are wearing what looks similar to customer service headsets but designed to resemble an Echo, including the blue ring that the devices are known for. Is Amazon hinting that Alexa-empowered headphones or wearables are going to hit the market in the future?

Not likely, according to Amazon.

The spot is also igniting conversations about the voices used for digital assistants; right now Alexa does not use regional accents, and can’t be customized at all.

Guess we’ll have to wait and see on that. In the meantime, the spot is a fun creative piece in what will likely be a big year for Super Bowl commercials that feature artificial intelligence.

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Julie is totally technology driven. She is an early adapter, getting the newest devices first and loves seeing how they work. She is the first one called when her friends need help setting up networks, new computer systems, printers and cool home automation devices. She loves being the token "dork" in her group of friends.