Alexa Goes Haywire in Amazon's Super Bowl Ad, Which Is Darker Than You Think

Not everything should be voice activated

Amazon's 2019 Super Bowl commercial rolled out online Wednesday morning, and it's an amusing 90-second piece that takes a lighthearted view (if there can be such a thing) of the company's headlong race toward world domination. 

The spot takes it as a given that Amazon is taking over the planet—it shows the Alexa voice assistant being embedded in almost everything, to humorous effect. The result is a world gone crazy, though charmingly so. 

A handful of celebs—Forest Whitaker, Harrison Ford, Abbi Jacobson, Ilana Glazer and Mark and Scott Kelly—make cameos as victims of these wayward Alexa experiments. As such, it feels a lot like Amazon's celebrated 2018 spot, where Alexa lost her voice—except this time, instead of falling ill, she's been misguidedly programmed instead. 

See the spot below, created by Lucky Generals and in-house creative agency D1. 

Amazon | Not Everything Makes the Cut

It's a crowd-pleaser of an ad, for sure. But at the same time, it's pretty fascinating that Amazon would use a minute and a half on the Super Bowl to show its own technology ushering in a dystopia—however fictional and tongue-in-cheek. 

Benign technology spiraling out of control isn't exactly a remote possibility, after all. People are a little freaked out by the big tech companies. And while the ad acknowledges the perils (or at least, the foibles) of cutting-edge tech—and implies Amazon is aware of those perils, and guards against them—it still feels a bit like a dramatization of how companies like Amazon don't always understand their creations. 

Also, look at the celebs in the spot. They're the stand-ins for us hapless humans. And they don't fare well—at all— in Amazon's vision when the tech runs amok. There's not a hint of resistance, or even resilience—à la the runner in Spike Jonze's famous Y2K spot for Nike. We just stand there baffled as the dog food piles up. 

Thankfully, it's all just a joke. And the beer and nachos should blot out any darker thoughts among Sunday's Super Bowl watchers. Right? 

The ad will air during the second half of Sunday's game. 

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Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd is editor in chief of the Clio Awards.