If you’re over the age of 45, you may remember the 1980’s commercial for The Clapper™, the product that probably launched the careers of many comedians of the day. The Clapper was a device that allowed you to switch lamps on and off when you clapped your hands. At the time, it was thought of as a novelty item best left as a holiday gag gift.
The Clapper might not have worked so well, but its jingle was certainly effective.
Well, we can thank the much maligned Clapper for being the predecessor for what has become the latest must-have accessory in homes today: Smart Speakers.
With SNL and others already spoofing their product, Amazon Echo decided to get in on the laughs, creating their own Alexa parody for the Super Bowl LII. The commercial went viral, earning close to 50 million views on their official YouTube page alone.
Smart Speakers are voice activated personal assistant devices that have built-in artificial intelligence. Instead of typing in a command to your computer or smart phone to find out what the weather is going to be like, you can simply ask your Smart Speaker and it will tell you.
“What you can do with a smart speaker depends largely on which AI your speaker has inside it—Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri work in different ways and work with different apps and services—and the extent of your smart home,” according to Kashfia Kabir in an article for WHAT HI-FI. Want to order a pizza? Need to recipe for an apple pie? Want to listen to jazz? Now you can ask your Smart Speaker and voila! It will immediately answer back.
Expanding Markets—And Opportunities
In 2017, sales of Smart Speakers reached 30 million units; by end of 2018, the industry is projecting 55 million units will be sold, with the US accounting for almost 70% of the market. Google and Amazon account for 94% of smart speaker technology in use today. Amazon has plans to expand its Alexa technology to personal computers, cars, and yes—even to light switches in the home.
These devices present a plethora of opportunities for advertisers, not just with the data of shopping habits being collected, but also with the creative new ways to communicate with consumers. While ads are banned from Amazon Alexa, music, podcasts and flash briefings can have audio advertisements. This means that in many ways, advertisers will have to take a page of out the radio advertising playbook to create ad content that is less “salesy” and more informative to the listener.
Advertisers today are experimenting with ad content that use creative story lines and mini soap operas, quizzes and games to win over consumers much in the same way early radio advertising did back in the 1940s and 1950s, prior to the advent of television commercials.
The question to ask your company is, “Are you ready?”
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