Watching TV over the weekend, it was hard to avoid the new commercial for the Amazon Echo Show. Called “Piece of Cake,” its rapid-fire hard cuts throw a lot of Echo Show capabilities at the viewer in 55 seconds with little time to digest.
Going back and reviewing the ad, I was able to identify the following capabilities being commanded or shown in the background on the Show:
- Play a music playlist
- Video talk with Grandma
- Manage to-do lists
- Check weather
- Ask a question – spell check, find pizza place
- Dictation of text messages
- Home security – show front door
- Smart home – dim lights
- On-screen video – instructions, news, kid’s programs
Featuring music at the top of the ad is well justified, as research my team and I did last spring for GfK show that the top use – by far – of an Echo/Echo Dot is playing or streaming music. Asking questions and getting weather are also popular although far less than music. Smart home and home security require additional connected devices, which may or may not be obvious to the viewer.
New for the Show are the video capabilities enabled by its built-in screen, such as requesting and playing video content, or talking to grandparents (remember when the same tactic was used when telepresence was the flavor-of-the-month a few years ago?). The video screen could also go a long way towards what we called “building trust” with these devices – that by playing back requests on-screen, it understood your question or what you were asking it to do.
Conspicuous by absence
Most fascinating is what wasn’t shown – any retail activity. A dad asks for the local pizza place but the Show did not ask him if he wanted to place an order. Nor is there any mention of ordering direct from Amazon or its voice-shopping partners. The GfK study found shopping via Echo to be well down the list of used capabilities, so that might be a reason. But ultimately isn’t driving overall Amazon sales the main purpose of all the Amazon tech that has been developed? An interesting choice by the Echo marketers.
David Tice is the principal of TiceVision LLC, a media research consultancy.
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