Amazon Alexa, Google Home, AI, and the Super Bowl

TL;DR Take a look at how the voice community reacted to Alexa, Google Home, and AI making appearances in the 2018 Super Bowl commercials.

The reviews are in. Alexa, Tide, Doritos, Jeep, and Australia walked away as marketing’s big winners this year, according to numerous analyses and listicles following the Big Game. As human consumers, we can’t help but make our own personal ranking of Sunday’s advertisements. We know what to expect, too. The good, the ridiculously bad (remember puppy monkey baby?), and the funny.

Each year may seem like a same-commercial-different-day situation – a shiny car ad here a tug on the heart strings there. But this year, let’s take a take a look at how the voice community reacted to Alexa losing her voice, the absence of Google, and the subtle appearances of AI.

Alexa and Google

First, a refresher. Two years ago Alec Baldwin, Jason Schwartzman, Dan Marino, and Missy Elliot joined Alexa at a house party.

Alexa 2016

Both Amazon and Google ran ads in Superb Bowl 2017. Remember these?

Google Home 2017

Amazon Echo 2017 (1 of 3)

Amazon Echo 2017 (2 of 3)

Amazon Echo 2017 (3 of 3)

All 4 spots are good, but a year ago a fraction of the viewing audience owned either device. While still true this year, the reach was much bigger and will continue to grow for game LIII. What else stands out in the Amazon vs Google match up?

Amazon was ready. 2017 was so last year, and it showed in the marketing plan. For example, this year Amazon leveled up its marketing by:

  • Including celebrities with unique voices spanning inclusive demographic targets
  • Releasing short teasers with purposeful timing
  • Putting Bezos on the big screen
  • Publishing a blog post about why the Alexa commercial won’t wake up your device during the game
  • Holding back on announcing Amazon HQ2 to let the rumors swirl
  • Running a follow-up commercial after game coverage had concluded

And it looks like it worked – according to USA Today, Alexa “won” the Battle of the Pigskin, with consumers reacting most positively to their ads.

What about Google? In 2017, the Home brought people together and made the smart home seem warm and fuzzy. In 2018, a noticeable absence during the Super Big game – left us with a confounding feeling especially after Google’s blitz at CES just a month earlier.

From the Voice-first Community

While we are at it, let’s also take a look at some metrics during the game.

Metrics

A mix of interesting stats from the game:

Honorable Mentions

Gordon Ramsey Skill
Amazon delivers on a celebrity voice.

Oh, and we can’t forget about the actual game.

Congrats to the Eagles and for bringing home a win to Katie Ernst, Co-founder, Select A Story.

What’s Next?

What will Amazon do next year? Will Google make a comeback appearance? How many more robots will we see as actors?

We won’t know for another year. One thing is for sure though. It’s good to see voice make a strong showing among the traditional advertising players. Move over beer and soft drinks, chips, fast food, insurance, and cars. Voice is coming for all of you.

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