Alexa – What’s Your Personality? The Personification Of Amazon’s Alexa Through Television Advertisements
Brand personification has been widely used in marketing strategies for decades, and many research studies have confirmed its efficacy in shaping consumers’ brand attitudes and behaviours. The aim of this research paper is to explore how voice-activated virtual assistants are personified in commercial advertisements. Previous research has investigated why artificial intelligence-powered devices are personified; however fewer scholars have explored how these devices are anthropomorphized in commercial advertisements. Considering that advertisements are a “contribution to the complex symbol which is the brand image” (Ogilvy, 1951, p. 178), it is useful to study how brands advertise their products with the goal of influencing consumers’ positive perceptions of the brand. This paper analyzes four Super Bowl commercials for Amazon’s virtual agent, Alexa. I consider how language, characters, voice, and other visual elements contribute to the personification of Alexa and attempt to deduce the implication of this advertisement strategy for consumer brands. Considering that voice activated virtual assistants are a rapidly growing consumer technology, this study expands the extant knowledge on how these agents are anthropomorphized, and what this means for the consumer-brand relationship.