- Amazon released its full 90-second Super Bowl ad, where celebrities Gordon Ramsay, Cardi B, Rebel Wilson and Sir Anthony Hopkins fill in for Alexa, who has lost her voice, GeekWire reported.
- Alexa's substitutes are wearing headsets featuring the Amazon logo and the lighted blue ring that brands the company's Echo products. However, the headphones are just a prop for the ad and not a new product launch, an Amazon spokesperson told GeekWire.
- In the ad itself, each celebrity stand-in tries and fails to fulfill requests from users based on Alexa skills: Cardi B refuses to play country music, Ramsay berates someone for asking how to make a grilled cheese, Wilson inappropriately "sets the mood" and Hopkins gives a creepy response when he's asked to call someone. Last week, Amazon teased the ad with a 30-second video featuring CEO Jeff Bezos, who also appears in the full ad.
Amazon's Super Bowl tease late last week generated some online buzz in hinting at possible new features for Alexa. Even though a spokesperson said the headsets featured in the full ad are just a prop, Amazon recently released a set of developer tools to allow Alexa to work on certain wearable products, including headphones and smartwatches, and has previously filed patents for Alexa-powered headphones, according to TechCrunch.
Still, it doesn't appear that Amazon is bringing any major changes or new products to Alexa for the big game, and that the 90-second Super Bowl spot is instead a pure branding play, albeit one that puts Bezos in a more central role than has been the case in the past. This is still strategic, as Amazon is facing increased competition in the voice space. It was an early market leader for connected home products, but Google is fast catching up, with Google Home sales holding 40% of the market share in Q4, according to a new Consumer Intelligence Research Partners study. There are 31 million Amazon Echo devices in the U.S. compared to 14 million Google Home units.
Amazon first advertised Alexa during the 2016 Super Bowl, with a commercial starring Alec Baldwin, Dan Marino, Jason Schwartzman and Missy Elliot.