Alexa earns her place in the Superbowl Hall of Fame
As sporting events go, they really don’t come much bigger than the behemoth that was Superbowl LII. From the Gatorade-charged, end-to-end performance of both the Patriots and the Eagles, to Justin Timberlake’s 100 foot tall (and a litttttle bit weird) duet with a posthumous Prince, this year’s event would’ve struggled to disappoint even the most non-partisan of onlookers.
With the promise of an estimated 100 million sets of eyeballs glued to their respective screens for the duration, and NBC reportedly billing $5 mill per slot, the infamous half-time ad break continues to function almost with as much pageantry as the main event itself. The Eagles may have walked away with the trophy, “selfie kid” may have earned himself a place in the meme Hall of Fame – but what brand truly won the Superbowl? For me, there’s only one winner, and she goes by the name Alexa.
Having teased the concept with a 30 second short (above) featuring Amazon founder Jeff Bezos to build social buzz in the days running up to launch of the full ad, the spot takes Amazon’s functional, long-running yet, painfully-scripted ‘Alexa Moments’ idea and turns it on its head, playing in a parallel space where Alexa loses her voice, ensuing a minute and a half of well-structured, paradigm tilting, cameo-filled hilarity.
Whilst the ad’s funny, smart, and generally a damn sight more watchable than any of the other ads offered up on Sunday night, the true victory of this spot actually lies in the fact that it plays entirely on the idea that you, the viewer, actually knows what the hell Alexa is.
It’s easy to forget that this tech was only properly launched a couple of years ago and in that short time Amazon has, in effect, single-handedly dragged the slightly creepy notion of having a live-in, voice-activated robo-assistant from being the stuff of a low rent 80s sci-fi movie, into being a tangible, bona fide, commercially-viable reality that experts predict will become commonplace in around 55% of US households by 2022.
The timing is perfect. With just days to go before the launch of Apple’s Siri-powered HomePod, Amazon does a great job of reminding the world that they are the true daddy of the smart-speaker world, alongside showcasing its impressive, ever-growing product line-up, including new additions, the Echo Spot and Echo Show.
Final thoughts on Alexa and the superbowl.
I love this ad because it proudly hangs on that achievement without ever being gratuitous or overtly calling it out like a lot of brands would do for a quick win. With Variety reporting that Alexa is currently no.1 on YouTube – generating more views than viral-merchants Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War, Disney/Lucasfilm’s Han Solo story and Universal’s Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom spots – Superbowl LII’s ad bragging rights well and truly belong in the virtual hands of Alexa.
If you want more inspiration for brands that have launched products alongside events, have a look here.
By Abi Stocker
Account Manager, UK