Tag Archives: Amazon

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

Amazon’s Video Game Power Grab with Twitch Prime

In 2014, Amazon bought the massive streaming service known as Twitch. Three years later Twitch now has a paid membership known as Twitch Prime that is free if one is already an Amazon Prime member. Meanwhile, Twitch has reached out to a multitude of video game companies in an attempt to gather a larger audience.

Twitch and video games are already tied together. Twitch is primarily used to stream video games of all varieties, but YouTube also has a massive presence in the video game community. Google owns YouTube and Amazon is competing with Google. That is the strategy behind why Amazon bought Twitch. One of Google’s largest properties is YouTube, and Twitch is something that can compete with and maybe someday rival YouTube. Amazon wants to take on Google, so they started by competing with one of its largest money makers.

But will this strategy work?

With Twitch Prime, this strategy may stand a chance. Twitch has been expanding in recent years, but YouTube is still a colossus. It is reasonable to think that YouTube can’t be competed with, but if that was true then why did Google try to buy Twitch?

Twitch

Twitch has a great foothold in the videogame market that is actively growing thanks to Twitch Prime. This new service that is directly related to Amazon Prime allows members free  “game loot” by making partnerships with various video game companies. This cross promotion is important and done with multiple gaming companies. I will be using Hi-Rez as an example.

TwitchHi-Rez is the gaming studio responsible for the hit MOBA Smite. While only a few years old, Smite has over 25 million players and is growing. In the month of January, Twitch Prime focused on promoting Smite. Exclusive skins, chest rolls, and access to an event were given to Twitch Prime members. These things would either have to be bought or were not attainable otherwise.

Twitch Prime also went as far as to host Smite’s World Championship in association with Coca-Cola. This is a huge step that promotes Twitch Prime, Hi-Rez, and Amazon all at once. Amazon Prime members get Twitch Prime for free, so if a subscriber has an interest in video games obtaining Twitch Prime is easy and painless. Once that subscriber has Twitch Prime, they would be immediately made aware of Smite and its world championship that they could watch for free. After watching, they may be interested in the game which is free too.

This chain of events is beneficial to all three companies without forcing the individual to jump through a multitude of hoops. It is a creative, yet simple way Amazon is using Twitch to compete with YouTube and by extension, compete with Google.

So far, the strategy is effective. It worked on me, as I am an avid Smite player and had not heard about Twitch Prime until Hi-Rez began to advertise it. I already have an Amazon Prime membership, so it was easy for me to get Twitch Prime.

It is working now; however, that does not mean it will continue to work. The biggest roadblock that Amazon has is that it is trying to compete with Google. While Google is already a difficult company to compete with, YouTube is its own headache. While Twitch is growing, it has a long way to go before it can overpower YouTube.

That begs the question, is it possible to overpower YouTube? Can Amazon compete with Google like this? Will Twitch only rest in its large, but specific video game market? YouTube meanwhile has a multitude of video markets with video games being only one.

Only time will tell if Amazon’s strategy will continue to work. Companies like Hi-Rez will continue to benefit in the meantime. The trifecta of marketing is running smoothly, but will it ever gain enough momentum to overpower its rivals?

Sam King

Streaming TV: Is Amazon Prime the Jester?

Netflix is the King of streaming TV. Hulu is the Prince. Is Amazon Prime the Jester? Is Amazon relevant in this online streaming war? Amazon has made huge strides in online shopping. However, online video streaming is a different story for Amazon.

amazon primeLet’s begin with Amazon Prime vs Netflix. Prime costs a dollar less per month than Netflix which is nice, but is it really? According to money expert Matt Granite from USA Today, he says that Netflix has more selection and a better interface than Amazon. However, Amazon Prime gives you free two-day shipping and unlimited photo storage.

Next is Hulu. According to Business Insider, Hulu costs $7.99 per month (with ads) while Prime is about $8.25 per month. So Hulu is cheaper (at the expense of watching ads), but what does that mean for Amazon Instant Video? Well, Amazon does not have ads, but Hulu can get you the latest television episodes.

If you want to know how many subscribers each video streaming service has, here are some statistics. Netflix has more than 86 million subscribers worldwide (CNN Money), Amazon Prime has around 60 million subscribers (CNBC), and Hulu has around 12 million (CNN Money).

Amazon Prime Man In The High Castle

According to Caroline Nolan from The Street, “Without Amazon Prime membership, you will be paying $12 on average for two-day shipping on each purchase.” (Nolan, 1). If I bought two items from Amazon every month with two-day shipping without Prime, that would equal around $288 every year. However, this is shopping and spending all that extra money might be a problem!

I think a huge obstacle with Amazon Prime is their name. When people think of Amazon Prime, they think online shopping and not online video streaming. What Amazon needs is a clever name, and I might be able to help.

What Amazon should have called their online video streaming service is Amazon River. That is clever compared to Amazon Prime or Amazon Instant Video. It helps Amazon by making them more diversified. So Jeff Bezos, if you’re reading this, call me.

Anyway, when it comes to online video streaming, Netflix is the King (or Queen), Amazon is the Prince (or Princess), and Hulu seems to be lowly Jester. Amazon is relevant in the streaming wars, but I think they need to work on their identity. So, Amazon is relevant, but at the same time they almost aren’t, due to an undefined identity.

So, which is the best? Well, it depends. If you want television shows and you want it cheap, you can choose Hulu. If you want television and movies together, you can choose Netflix. If you are an online shopper and are not much of a television watcher but still want online video streaming, you can choose Amazon Prime.

What also matters is what shows and movies you want to watch. Amazon has Transparent and The Man in the High Castle, Netflix has Stranger Things and Luke Cage, and Hulu has The Awesomes and The Mindy Project.

I have also received word that Hulu has struck a deal with Disney and Fox to have live sports. This is exciting to see and unexpected to see. We’ll see what happens to Hulu in the future. This of course is a conversation for a different time.

Personally, I love Amazon Prime. I have had it for about a couple years now and I am quite satisfied with the two-day shipping and television shows. That is of course when I have time to watch them. The Man in the High Castle is pretty good.

What do you think about the streaming wars? Do you have Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime, or all three? Comment below and tell me what you think.

Kyle Konigsmark