Amazon Makes Fun of Failed Voice Tech in Super Bowl Spot

Patrycja Malinowska
Director, Member Content, P2PI
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Amazon is for the second time poking fun at its own Alexa voice assistant in a Super Bowl spot that also reflects chief executive officer Jeff Bezos' philosophy of embracing failures along the way to success.

Amazon posted the 90-second spot to YouTube on the Thursday leading up to the National Football League game. In the spot, an Amazon employee reveals several humorous Alexa fails. The YouTube caption reads, "We’re putting Alexa in more stuff now … But let’s just say not everything makes the cut."

The concept continues the theme of a malfunctioning Alexa that the company first introduced for last year's Super Bowl, and again stars several celebrities. Harrison Ford steals the show with a storyline about how outfitting his dog with an Alexa collar that can speak canine had let the pup order a truckload of dog food (including gravy and sausages), but the ultimate fail is when Alexa commandeers the Earth's power grid from space.

The spot was developed by Amazon's internal creative team and will air during the second half of the game, Marketing Dive reported.

The week prior, Amazon had stoked interest by releasing short clips in which mysterious "Amazon Beta Testing Program" boxes were delivered to the celebrities. 

Amazon is promoting the effort on its home page with a display ad that links to a page within the "All Things Alexa" showcase presenting all the ads and a variety of Alexa devices.

Though voice commerce is still in its infancy — with sales last year totaling less than half of 1% of all U.S. e-commerce sales at $2.1 billion, according to eMarketer — Amazon is showcasing its continued commitment to removing fricton in the space while simultaneously heightening its brand awareness amid increased competition from providers such as Microsoft and Google. The latter is experiencing a low week amid reports that major retail partner Walmart recently pulled out of Google Express as well as the company's marquee voice commerce effort, Google Shopping Actions. Retailers such as Staples, American Eagle, Office Depot and REI had also previously disappeared from Google's list of partners, with little fanfare.

Google and Walmart have said they are instead focusing on developing a Walmart-specific action for Google's voice controlled digital assistant, a service Kroger has already launched and is expanding this year.