A Techy Genie in a Bottle: “Just Ask” and the Amazon Echo Will Assist

If you want to order a pizza for dinner, you may look in a phonebook or the restaurant’s webpage. Maybe you want to know what’s going on in your community, so you pick up the local paper. How about some music? Turn on your stereo or pop in a CD. What if you simply asked and that pizza is already on its way, music starts playing, and the headlines are being read to you. With the Amazon Echo, it’s becoming the new reality and the “Just Ask” marketing campaign is highlighting it’s easy usage and how it’s geared toward everyday households.

Amazon

To begin, what is the Amazon Echo? Amazon released the product in the fall of 2014 to Prime and select members and then to the public in the summer of 2015. This is a digital speaker device focused on voice activation. It has the ability to play music through streaming services such as Pandora, Spotify, and iHeartRadio, list off news headlines, create shopping lists, provides weather information, and even find the closest restaurants to you and order meals. If you really want to get techy, extra additions are available to hook up around your home so the Echo can flip your lights on and off or control the thermostat. Are you an Amazon Prime member? The Echo can also order products off of Amazon through your account.

How does it work? The Amazon Echo is paired with Alexa, which is a cloud-based voice service. So, if someone wanted to know the weather conditions, all they would have to say is “Alexa, what is the weather today?” and it will rattle off whether or not it will be warm and sunny and so on. To ask it questions, you don’t have to be standing right next to it either. It can recognize and pick up commands and questions from across the room.

So how does Amazon push this amazing and futuristic product? Currently, Amazon is using a marketing campaign that focuses around the slogan and hashtag, “Just Ask.” The message is pretty clear and simple, right? That’s because it wants to reflect how the Echo is used: simply. It also highlights the fact that Echo is hands free and based around voice interaction. This slogan can be seen all over Amazon’s social media pages such as Facebook and especially on Twitter. Users on Twitter are using the hashtag #JustAsk to show how they are using their Echo on an everyday basis. Along with these pages, some advertisements show the product, the slogan, and nothing else to highlight these characteristics of the Echo.

Short commercials are also being played on TV. During Super Bowl 51, Amazon produced three 10-second advertisements to showcase the Echo. An additional three ads were aired leading up to the game as well. During these commercials, something unexpected would happen and a person would ask the Echo to help solve the problem and in no time, it was fixed. Again, literally all you have to do is ask and your requests are answered and filled. If someone sneezes in the chili, just ask Alexa and Domino’s is on the way. Did you find your dog eating your awesome snacks stadium? Order more.

Earlier advertisements featured big stars like Alec Baldwin and Missy Elliot. The situations were different than the ones in the Super Bowl commercials. The stars would be in glamorous situations, like wondering what fancy outfit to wear or needing new cashmere socks, and ask their Echo for assistance, whether that be to play music or order new socks. With the “Just Ask” campaign, however, Amazon has decided to demonstrate how the Amazon Echo is not just for the rich and famous, but for everyone and can be used for everyday tasks. The campaign also strives to showcase the voice interaction. For example, in commercials with Alec Baldwin, the Amazon Echo was seen sitting next to him. In the Super Bowl ads, however, the Echo was not seen, but rather heard. These ads may also highlight that you do not necessarily need to be close to the product to ask for assistance.

The Amazon Echo has done extremely well and their “Just Ask” campaign is helping with the numbers. Everyday people can bring the future to their home. So where does the campaign go from here? In one of the Super Bowl commercials, the woman asks Alexa to order Domino’s pizza. Companies, like Domino’s, are partnering with the Amazon Echo to help push their products and services as well. It’s great the Alexa can help with cooking measurements and play music, but the next step for the product is to connect other products and services to the device. FitBit is the newest brand to pair with the Echo and people with FitBits can now ask their Echo how they slept last night and how many steps they have. This will further push the “Just Ask” campaign and expand all that users can ask the Echo and in new and various aspects of their lives.

Casey Allbee

One thought on “A Techy Genie in a Bottle: “Just Ask” and the Amazon Echo Will Assist

  1. This product has the potential to be extremely useful and successful. Since it is in its infancy stage however, I would be concerned about security. Perhaps Amazon could only allow recognized voices to order things from Amazon or Dominoes? For example, a child could order dozens of random things from your Amazon account. Hacking is also a concern, since she is listening all of the time (panopticon anyone?). Once Amazon is able to get through the possible issues that could arise, I could see this helping not only the average family, but also the elderly that may need assistance dialing the phone, seeing the news, or maybe even turning the TV channel.

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