‘It’s Not a Buick, It’s an Alexa’ New Car Ad Claims
Car commercials always brag about voice assistants and other technology, but Buick is now elevating the presence of Amazon’s Alexa to the point it supersedes the car brand entirely. The new ad makes Alexa not just a feature, but the marquee name for what is otherwise still a car, not a smart speaker.
Alexa or Buick
The ad shows a couple driving the car debating whether they are in an Alexa or a Buick, highlighting the features the voice assistant brings to the vehicle. A pair of restaurant servers seeing the car drive past have the same debate, making it seem like a universal question. It’s not Buick’s first ad bragging about Alexa, but it heightens things considerably. One might almost expect to see the Alexa logo next to the Buick tri-shield on the car. Buick is only one of the brands owned by General Motors to have Alexa built-in. GM was the first to take full advantage of the Alexa Auto SDK, but Buick is most enthusiastic about it in the ads.
Alexa has been mentioned in plenty of car commercials, usually to show off a specific feature, like voice-activated ignition. Why Buick wants Alexa front and center is impossible to guess, but there are a few likely contributing factors. For one, people do care more about voice assistants in cars than ever before. Voicebot’s own research has found that more than 60% of consumers who have used a voice assistant while driving factor in assistant availability when considering a new car purchase. The same study found that people are more likely to use an embedded voice assistant in a car than connect to one through a phone or other device.
Amazon has been very busy this year promoting Alexa as an automotive companion. New partnerships with Lamborghini and Rivian will integrate Alexa into some of their models. It’s also been aggressive in promoting the Echo Auto device, which adds Alexa to cars where it’s not integrated. The device has new languages and is sold internationally in France, Australia, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. The voice assistant can even pay for gas at 11,500 Exxon and Mobil gas stations in the U.S. now. As voice assistants become a default feature in cars, Amazon will need these tricks to compete with its rivals. Google Assistant will soon be native to the many European car brands produced by Groupe PSA, while Cerence has set up a broad menu to clients from the very customizable Cerence Studio to the turn-key Cerence ARK Assistant. Google and Cerence aren’t suggesting those cars be renamed in favor of the voice assistant, but the name Buick isn’t likely to fade away either.