Over the weekend Amazon released a teaser for their upcoming Super Bowl ad. In it, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is informed that the company’s digital assistant has lost her voice. When Bezos asks how that’s possible, employees inform him that replacements are ready.
That leads us to this week where a couple of celebrities have posted cryptic tweets regarding Amazon. It started with Gordon Ramsay opening an Amazon box on Twitter and pulling out a headset that faded to a screen screen with the numbers 2.4.18 (the date of the Super Bowl). It was followed up by Leslie Jones, Cardi B, Rebel Wilson, and Anthony Hopkins doing the same thing.
Now this could all just be leading to a funny commercial to promote the Amazon Echo line of products and it’s venerable assistant Alexa. But could it also be a shift toward allowing users to choose a celebrity voice?
Celebrity voice assistants would not be a new thing. The navigation app Waze has been utilizing them for some time now. You can choose to get your directions from a list that includes Stephen Colbert, Morgan Freeman, Liam Neeson and even Mr. T. Amazon uses it in their alarm clock skill. You can have Alex Baldwin, Missy Elliot, Dan Marino and a few others instead of the default alarm wake you up in the morning.
When it comes to competitors in the voice assistant game, Amazon is the only one that doesn’t offer a male option. Cortana, Siri, and Google Assistant can transition into a male voice if the user chooses so in the settings.
Another possible use of these celebrities could be in the form of added functionality or specific skills. Perhaps Anthony Hopkins can eloquently read a quote of the day if you ask. Leslie Jones can tell you a joke. And Gordon Ramsay can provide cooking help for those in need.
Celebrity voices would certainly add some needed spice to Alexa. And there is no better time to announce it than during the big game. With Amazon selling “tens of millions” of Echo devices over the holidays, they certainly have a consumer base that would use it.
Then again this could just be a goofy commercial Amazon is putting out and we’ll have to continue to survive with Alexa’s flat, monotone voice.