FROM THE ARCHIVES: Alexa (exa-exa)

Craig Swanson
Creative Director
From the Toniq Blog Archives...2015 but still relevant!

What is Amazon thinking? When something in the corporate creative sphere occurs that is difficult to fathom, I like to think of the approval process, how the brand managers heard the concepts and ended up, either initially but certainly eventually, saying (softly, I hope) “yes…yes”.

So they come up with this product. They named it *Echo*. And it was good. But the core functionality of Echo requires you, the user, to interact with it, via voice, via its AI interior, its personality. And this the powers-that-be at Amazon elected to name, no, not Echo, no no no. What, they perhaps said to themselves, does the iPhone awaken *Siri* by having the user bark “Hey iPhone!” No they do not. They (Apple) created *Siri* and it was good.

But I have to tell you: Echo is not an iPhone. Perhaps this is the answer to why — as you’ve guessed my complaint by now — they didn’t have us call out “Hey Echo” or just “Echo” or, as I call my cat (who is named Echo, I kid you not) “Echo Echo”. Yes, they think, just like the iPhone, they have created a hardware platform in the Echo. And as a platform it would be absurd to invoke it by the platform name. No, you need something living *inside* the box, something (someone) to call out to.

Meantime, I disagree with all this. Not only is it unlikely that the Amazon Echo will become a successful *hardware platform*, but they’ve created what to me is an absurd brand naming disconnect. I buy the Amazon Echo. And I turn it on. And I say, “Hey Alexa”. Huh?

At least give us something to lean on. Amazon Echo *starring* Alexa! Yes, I hate it too. But at least it makes some sense.

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