New Alexa marketing campaign places it at the centre of family life

Amazon Echo (2nd generation) Photo courtesy: Amazon website
Simplifying technology for an average user appears to be the creative mantra at the core of Amazon’s latest campaign promoting Echo—the voice-based assistant device. With two television commercials—“Hit wicket! JustAsk” and “Love, unlove. JustAsk”—the e-commerce major demonstrates the different ways in which Echo assists customers in their daily chores.

Conceptualised by Ogilvy India, the ads tap into India’s biggest passions—cricket and Bollywood music. “Hit wicket! JustAsk” opens with a man walking in the drawing room. After a “good morning” greeting to his wife, he turns to Alexa and asks, “What’s India’s cricket score?” The device responds: “Australia beats India by 50 runs.” The man is shocked and tries to start a conversation with his wife, who in turn ignores him and says, “Alexa, please add tissues to the shopping list.”

The second film, “Love, unlove. JustAsk”, takes viewers through a heart-warming conversation between a woman and her grandchildren. A teenage boy is fiddling with his phone while his sister teases him by suggesting he is chatting with his girlfriend, Pooja. Both the grandmother and the girl ask Echo to play the evergreen Bollywood song “Chura liya hai tumne jo dil ko”. The boy wryly responds that Pooja already has a boyfriend. To this, the ladies let out a sigh and test the jilted lover’s patience, asking Echo to play “Main phir bhi tumhe chahunga”.

On Alexa users, Ravi Desai, director, mass and brand marketing, Amazon India, says: “Indian consumers are abreast of the latest developments in technology and seek to acquire the latest gadgets. Our target groups for Echo devices are families that are technology-friendly and willing to spend for convenience.”

Amazon claims tens of thousands of Alexa-enabled devices have been sold off.

Kiran Ramamurthy, executive vice-president, Ogilvy India, says, “Echo is a completely new product that is almost magical in what it does. It was extremely important from the client’s perspective to establish the product concept. And this called for show and tell—a demonstration of the product and its use cases. Our challenge was to do it in an interesting way.”

Further, the product has two names that need to be established. One is the device name—Amazon Echo. And the other is the voice-based service, Alexa. It was important to build some clarity around what the device is (Amazon Echo) and what Alexa is.

The starting point for the campaign were two fairly simple consumer insights. “One, the fact that today, people are using technology to simplify their lives. And second, it is children who are the catalysts for using new technologies. The other important piece to the Echo puzzle was to make technology less ‘scary’ by almost gamifying the depiction of its usage,” explains Ramamurthy.

The creative team’s focus was on highlighting that Amazon Echo is a family device with varied use cases that are relevant to each and every member. Apart from focusing on Bollywood music as one of the most popular use cases, the films highlight news (using cricket specifically), shopping (adding tissue paper to the shopping list), general knowledge (asking questions such as what the capital of Australia is) and reminders.

Interestingly, to maintain authenticity and give users a real sense of how the device works, the voice we hear on the device in the two films is the actual voice of Alexa responding to characters in the films. It is not a voice-over.