It was only a decade or so ago that to watch Super Bowl ads, one had to tune into the Super Bowl. But with the YouTube becoming ubiquitous, most advertisers now race to get their spots out before the game. Only a scant few hold their adverts until the day of the game. Up until now, it seemed like Amazon might fall into the latter category, only releasing teasers ahead of time for its upcoming spot. But it turns out Amazon's 2020 Super Bowl commercial was waiting for the right time to debut, which was on Wednesday, Jan. 29's episode of Ellen.
Considering Ellen DeGeneres and her wife Portia de Rossi star in the ad, it shouldn't be a surprise that DeGeneres wanted to release the advert first. She debuted it as part of her talk show, giving viewers a chance to enjoy what may be one of the funniest spots to air during the upcoming game.
DeGeneres asks: "What did people do before Alexa?" Cut to several different eras, from the 1800s to the middle ages, where people ask "Alessa," "Alexi," "Alex," "Al," "Lexi," and "Alicia" for news and information, just like Alexa users do today. From demanding they turn down the heat to asking for today's headlines, it turns out everyone has always had an Alexa.
The ad also has a few extra guest stars other than DeGeneres and de Rossi. The Elizabethan jester, for instance, is actor Jamie Demetriou from Amazon's hit show Fleabag. The full spot will air during the Super Bowl's third quarter.
This is the fourth year in a row Amazon has used its advertising spot to promote the brand's voice-activated device for fans during the game. From last year's "Amazon Beta Testing Program" to 2016's #BaldwinBowl showcasing the Echo, Amazon has stuck to what works. This year's ad also comes with a hashtag: #BeforeAlexa. Amazon also encourages Alexa users to ask their devices, "Alexa, what did we do before you?" What, indeed.