It was Super Bowl time of the year again, and while many were looking forward to seeing who wins on the field, there was another aspect of the Super Bowl which was already making news: the ad campaigns being featured at half-time. The Super Bowl has become one of those occasions where many people actually wait for TVCs from different companies as much (or almost as much as) for the game. Not surprising, when you consider that we have seen some remarkable ad campaigns coming up around this time of the year (who can forget the Macintosh 1984 Super Bowl ad – iConic indeed).
And this year was no different. Various companies came up with their top ad games to make the most out of their share in the spotlight. One of them was Amazon.
A few days ago, Amazon had teased the world with a brief video clip in which its virtual assistant, Alexa had lost its voice. The ad made news for featuring Jeff Bezos and left viewers wondering what happened next, Alexa having gone quiet. Well, the company has now released the full-fledged ad.
When Alexa goes missing, in step the stars
The ad titled, “Alexa loses her voice”, is a 90-second affair. It starts with a woman brushing her teeth in the bathroom with an Amazon Echo Dot on the counter. Alexa is telling the woman about the weather in Austin (which she has asked about) when the virtual assistant’s voice suddenly coughs and fades out. This makes news (“Alexa has lost her voice”), and the issue reaches Jeff Bezos, who obviously gets very worried about Alexa losing her voice. His team reassures him, telling him that they have the replacement ready.
And the replacements? Some had speculated (as the teaser had ended with talk of the replacements) that this referred to AI. Things, however, are human. Tremendously human, in fact. For, this brings us to the star-studded part of the ad. The replacement(s) the Amazon employee was talking about? Well, they actually are not just about the voice. What follows is a parade of celebrities, filling in for Alexa.
The first voice is of Gordon Ramsay who (as Alexa) is highly disappointed in a 32-year-old gent who asked him the recipe for a grilled cheese sandwich. The next one is Cardi B, who only plays “Bodak Yellow,” no matter how much the user insists she plays country music. Then comes Rebel Wilson, who is asked to set a mood for a party but makes the scene a little awkward with her alluring voice and inappropriate jokes. Finally, there comes Sir Anthony Hopkins in his role as Alexa, who instead of connecting the user with her friend, channels Hannibal Lecter, making chills run down spines!
The ad ends with Alexa (the REAL Alexa) thanking her replacements for their work, but taking back reins of the virtual assistant world in her own hands, or voice again.
Celebs galore, but the star is Alexa!
Every once in a while, tech companies release ads that are not just for the purpose of selling their products but to show the world how strong their advertising game really is. It is no coincidence that this generally happens around Super Bowl. Amazon too has taken this opportunity to create something similar.
And seems to have succeeded. The 90-second ad pretty much ticks all the right boxes and has got people talking. Most important of all, while many may think that the celebrity faces (including Bezos) in the ad are the stars of the show, the real star remains the virtual assistant, Alexa.
Indeed, this is one of those very rare ads where in spite of having a number of well-known faces in it, the product still manages to shine through – in the end, the ad is really about Alexa. The ad establishes how not even the best performers in different fields (and they are all known for their speaking ability) can match what Alexa offers, thus putting the product right on top. The ad is super entertaining but at the same time informs and sells the product. It also very subtly shows what Alexa can do, how people can use it and the assistance it offers. And ah, how it is so much better than having a real assistant.
We absolutely love the storyline. How Alexa losing her voice makes news around the world, as if it is some sort of natural disaster. Then all these well known and highly acclaimed celebrities try to fill in for Alexa’s voice, but it obviously doesn’t quite work out well. And yeah, Jeff Bezos also look really nice, sporting a secret agent-like look (put him in SHIELD, someone). It is not every day that you see a Tech CEO fitting right into an ad about his company’s products (remember Bill Gates not quite rocking it in spite of accompanying Jerry Seinfeld?)
Don’t touch that remote control
When you have not just one but four great celebrities of different industries in a single ad, it is pretty much a given that people often forget about the product and only remember the celebrities. But this is not the case in the new Amazon Alexa ad. The ad throughout talks about Alexa and makes sure that none of these celebs overshadow the real star of the ad. It is engaging, informs you about the product, gets celebs doing their thing and entertains viewers well. And while most ads often make us switch channels, this one will definitely make you stay.
Mind you, Anthony Hopkins as Alexa… is sort of tempting. Oh all right, Alexa, you can take it from here.