We All Live in An Advertising Scene. Advertising Scene.

When your billboard is in Times Square and your installation is the largest ever created for that location, your advertisement better perform. This is what Amazon hoped when they placed a 79-foot Amazon Echo replica in the concrete jungle.

$1-4 million a year to advertise in Times Square may sound like a hefty investment. However, ecommerce giants like Amazon set aside large budgets for these advertising efforts. Considering Amazon holds the majority market share in the voice-controlled speaker market, this may spark the question as to why they would need to advertise more. Well, with Google Home and the Apple Homepod penetrating the market, Amazon needs to continue spreading brand awareness to hold onto their majority market share and not lose any sales to competitors.

With the potential for 70,000 impressions every day, the opportunity to convert those eyes to potential customers is significant. In addition to high visibility potential due to heavy foot traffic, pedestrians will notice the enormous Amazon Echo replica. The replica feels building-like, standing at seven stories tall. This is how Amazon successfully grabbed its target audience’s attention.

A billboard in Times Square is not your ordinary outdoor advertisement. In Times Square, almost every billboard is illuminating multiple colors and flashing lights that attempt to captivate the interest of traffic-goers. To make matters more complex, you only have limited time to win your audience’s interest. A mere three seconds is the average glance at a billboard. Amazon is doing a great job here because that three second glance may turn to five seconds thanks to the Echo’s stature and their Fab Four tie-in. The billboard provokes interest by replicating its Echo as realistically as possible, featuring an LED activated light ring to mimic Alexa’s activation. Amazon used neutral but bold colors in attempt to differentiate themselves from the cluster of colorful competing advertisements.

Amazon is highlighting the main feature that their target audience finds useful- in this case, it’s streaming music with voice command. Here, Amazon referenced The Beatles, a band they knew would resonate with their target audience of 25 to 34 year olds. Amazon successfully implemented the clever and fun message, “Alexa, play the song that goes… LOVE IS ALL YOU NEED.” An audience loves a sense of fulfillment when they solve a puzzle, especially when they’re reminded of these iconic lyrics. And who doesn’t love The Beatles? Therefore, who wouldn’t love the Amazon Echo?

Will Amazon experience a trackable ROI from this billboard? Probably not, BUT, in the long run they will have strengthened their brand and generated even more awareness of the Alexa connected smart speaker, Echo. I mean, come on now, we’re talking about a seven story Echo replica that hearkens back to The Beatles! Eventually they should reap the benefits of their ad board by selling even more devices and remaining atop the Intelligent Personal Assistant space. And don’t forget they’ve hooked another customer into their growing retail and entertainment empire. So was this exercise in creative excess worth $1 million? You Can’t Buy Me Love, but you sure can buy me 70,000 impressions a day.


By: Sebastian Cervantes