LOS ANGELES — Amazon, the tech giant that has transformed from shipping books to your home to developing award-winning original content, is finally stepping onto TV’s biggest stage: the Super Bowl. The Seattle-based online retail behemoth will run a Super Bowl commercial for the Amazon Echo, a wireless, internet-connected voice-command device that can prepare music playlists, answer questions and deliver weather reports, as well as interact with smart home devices such as the Nest thermostat.
The Echo, which was released widely in June and won some rave reviews, costs about $180.
The Super Bowl is the advertising event of the year for all brands; more than 114 million people tuned in to last year’s big game. And with this year’s game taking place at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. — the heart of Silicon Valley — tech companies might be tempted to make a bigger splash. San Francisco alternative lender Social Finance, or SoFi, has also taken out a 30-second spot.
While it’s hard to imagine there are millions of Americans watching the game who are not familiar with the e-commerce giant with the smiley cardboard boxes, Amazon is making that bet — at least for the sake of selling more Echo devices. Likewise, the early success of its Kindle e-readers was dependent on heavy TV advertising before customers grew accustomed to the idea of reading books on electronic tablets. And while a 30-second spot is expected to cost $5 million, that’s a drop in the bucket for Amazon, which brought in more than $25 billion in revenue last quarter and has a cool $10.7 billion in balance sheet cash. The game will be broadcast at 6:30 p.m. Eastern time on Feb. 7.
A preview of Amazon’s commercial, which features Alec Baldwin, is below: