The mystery of great advertisingBy Tom Dougherty
3 February 2021
The mystery of great advertising: The Amazon Super Bowl spot
Ever have watched a TV ad you intuitively understand to be great advertising but don’t know why. That’s the great mystery you may feel about Amazon’s upcoming Super Bowl ad.
“Few are driven by strategy. But, in this spot, there is a strategy powering it all. That’s what makes it great advertising. Alexa is a person.”
The spot will put a smile on your face. It’s the husband’s reaction to everything. The silliness of the concept. And the suggestion that Alexa is actually a person.
The last bit is what makes it work as great advertising. Think about this. Do you even remember what Alexa is really called?
It’s an Echo. But no one calls it that. And Amazon’s shift to simply calling it by the name of the speaking voice is long overdue. It’s not a machine. It’s a person.
We at Stealing Share have long bemoaned the state of advertising, and the role ad agencies play in them. Many of those ads are just comedy skits with the brand’s logo tacked onto the end. In most cases, you aren’t even aware of the brand. You just rate the spots based on whether you are entertained or not.
Strategy powers great advertising
Super Bowl advertising is the worst offender. Ad agencies convince brands to air commercials during the big game because it gets the agencies noticed and win some awards. They don’t really care about stealing market share.
Few are driven by strategy. But, in this spot, there is a strategy powering it all. That’s what makes it great advertising. Alexa is a person. And by making it Michael B. Jordan, the spot becomes memorable. The strategy, though, is so dead-on that Amazon could’ve used anybody.
(BTW, there’s a hint early in the ad as to why Michael B. Jordan. He’s starring in the upcoming Amazon movie Without Remorse. It’s the ad on the bus.)
There’s a reason why the Echo, er, I mean, Alexa, has overtaken the smart speaker category. It’s not marketed as a machine. Google Home can’t compete because it’s marketed as an inert thing.
The Amazon ad furthers a strategy that’s winning the market. Capitalizing on what we all really call the Echo. And whatever form we see her (him) in, it’s producing some great advertising. So maybe there’s no mystery at all.
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