- Amazon released a 30-second teaser video for its 2018 Super Bowl ad, titled "Did Alexa Lose Her Voice?," which features the company's CEO Jeff Bezos, per GeekWire.
- The ad shows a woman in her bathroom brushing her teeth who asks Alexa for the weather report. Alexa begins her response but then starts coughing and stops. News of Alexa losing her voice grabs Bezos's attention, and Amazon employees assure him that they've found a replacement.
- The spot arrives as Amazon Echo devices, which are powered by Alexa, are facing stiffer competition. Sales of Google Home have been surging, and in Q4, commanded 40% of the market share, according to a new Consumer Intelligence Research Partners study also reported by GeekWire. The study found that the 14 million Google Home units in the U.S. still account for less than half of the 31 million Amazon Echo devices installed.
Jeff Bezos has been steadily building a more public profile over the past few years alongside Amazon's meteoric growth, however, the executive hasn't had much of a role to play in the company's consumer-facing marketing. His appearance in a Super Bowl TV spot — which will likely be watched by millions on game day, and generate additional buzz online — could signal a shift in Alexa's branding strategy as it faces a bigger competitive threat from Google Home. Having Bezos appear in Amazon's advertising might position the e-commerce giant as more personable and relatable despite the CEO having recently become the wealthiest person in history with an estimated net worth of $105 billion, per GeekWire
Amazon first advertised Alexa and the Echo during the Super Bowl two years ago in a commercial starring Alec Baldwin, Dan Marino, Jason Schwartzman and Missy Elliot, and is attempting to kick off buzz early by teasing the 2018 spot via digital video. The ad's premise of Alexa losing her voice and people wondering what could replace her might pique the interest of those curious to see if there are any significant updates or changes coming to the digital assistant this year.
Generating this type of talk is important for Amazon to sustain momentum in the voice space, where it was an early market leader but could quickly lose its foothold to Google or Apple if innovation and smart marketing aren't top-of-mind. Research supports the move as well, showing time and again that a big in-game Super Bowl ad buy can give brands long-term benefits like increased social media engagement and sales.