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Super Bowl Ads: Alexa Loses Her Voice and Groupon Comes Back

What a great game. There were also some terrific ads, unlike in many previous years: Tide, Australia tourism, Avocados from Mexico and a few others. One of the better others was “Alexa Loses Her Voice” (immediately below).

The premise of the ad was that the Alexa assistant could no longer fulfill requests and various human operators (all celebrities) had to step in with amusing and unexpected results. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos was in the ad and it was very well received.

But what the ad does most effectively is help Alexa supplant Siri as the virtual assistant “brand.” When people refer to virtual assistants now, Alexa will be top of mind in a way that Siri used to be. This is bad news for Apple on multiple levels.

The other ad of interest to this blog was the Groupon spot with Tiffany Haddish. The genesis of the ad was an appearance she made on last year on late night TV host Jimmy Kimmel’s show, in which she professed her genuine love for the service and told a funny story about it.

It speaks prominently about buying from and supporting local businesses. By most accounts it was successful, largely because of Haddish’s charisma. The last time Groupon did a Super Bowl campaign was in 2011 and it was controversial and largely unsuccessful.

The new ad marks the return of the company, which had a spectacular rise and fall. Now Groupon has stabilized and is poised for a comeback.

SMB website platform Squarespace also had a Super Bowl ad featuring Keanu Reeves, which was confusing to some people. It’s the company’s fifth year in a row. Competitors Wix and GoDaddy declined to make Super Bowl buys this year. It’s a difficult decision because there’s limited evidence of ROI and the ads are hugely expensive.

In total advertisers probably spent more than $500 million on Super Bowl ads. NBC was charging roughly $5 million for a 30-second spot. And while the NFL audience is shrinking, the “big game” arguably still offers an awareness advertising platform like no other.

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