Smart Speaker, Smart Branding

posted on 2nd Jan 2019 by Sean Deignan

It’s first day back to work for 2019! Yet another Christmas has bitten the dust but it’s ok folks, just another 360 days until the madness of the next one. Even with all the advance notice, there was still the last minute trudge to cover everything and everyone on ‘The Xmas List’, trying to find that perfect present.

Over the years, there has always been the ‘have-to-have’ gift, from Star Wars figures in the 70s to Cabbage Patch Dolls in the 80s and Beanie Babies in the 90s. With such a vast array of products available today through every increasing channels, the ‘Have-to-Have’ phenomenon is not as prevalent as before.

However, that doesn’t stop brands using everything they have to create desirability for their product, especially during the lucrative Christmas period. It appears that one of the more popular Christmas ‘Have-to-Haves’ if you like this year was the Smart Speaker. There are a number on the market to choose from but the main competition pitched the heavyweight contenders Google’s Home against Amazon’s Echo.

Google Home

Amazon Echo

Smart Speakers have been around for a few years but were a little basic to begin with and typical homes were not yet geared to fully benefit from their use. Initial consumer perception was that they were little more than a music speaker with a few gimmicks. Now these speakers are becoming evermore sophisticated with the idea being that they are intended to be be an everyday home ‘assistant’. This is especially pertinent with the evolution of smart homes and the smart speaker is intended as an integral part of this evolvement.

Typical uses might include ordering and paying for products online, checking traffic routes or weather for the day or even turning on and off lights, all verbally requested. With continuing upgrades, the perception is that this technology evolves in tandem with the users specific requirements and a subsequent growing dependency.

One feature of Christmas TV for the past 25 years is seeing a young Macaulay Culkin playing Kevin, dealing with baddies in the ‘Home Alone’ film series. Google decided to run their campaign with Culkin reprising his role in Home Alone, but this time as an adult using Google Assistant. In movie sets replicated to perfection, Culkin uses the device to do many of the things he did in the original movies with ease. Armed with the tagline of ‘Make Google do it’, the campaign relayed the modern simplicity and convenience of the device and all with a relevant seasonal theme.

It is arguable that the Amazon Echo is the better product of the two at the moment. Google’s campaign was an important one to get right and it hit the right note at the right time. This was in contrast to Amazon’s Echo ‘Daddy’s Favourite Song’ advert which seemed polarising. An unfortunate issue happened on Christmas Day with Amazons server in Europe failing and rendering the Echo useless for a number of hours in some areas. Cue large masses of people turning on the lights by themselves, bless.

Nevertheless, it probably won’t be long before every home will have one. It will be interesting to see just how important these devices will eventually become and how dependent we become on our ‘Digital Butler’.

 

Sean Deignan, Senior Production Artist

Sean is a Senior Production Artist at Neworld. He is responsible for the handling of major brand name projects from brief to final production, and for taking design concepts and working them to fully finished packaging and literature ready for print. He has worked with a variety of brands including Barry’s Tea, Glenisk, Arrabawn, The Jelly Bean Factory and Irish Pride