What did people do before Alexa? Amazon has the answer in Super Bowl ad with Ellen DeGeneres

(Amazon screen grab via Twitter)

Plenty of people turn to Alexa for answers to random questions and assistance in launching everything from favorite songs to the day’s news report. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos turned to Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi to show off his company’s new Super Bowl LIV advertisement.

Bezos tweeted the ad Wednesday morning, and it features the Hollywood couple getting ready to leave the house — but not before DeGeneres asks Alexa to turn down the thermostat. She also asks her wife, “What do you think people did before Alexa?”

The ad then launches into a make-believe, pre-voice-assistant history lesson. Old-timey maids, court jesters, newsboys, friends, secretaries and more — with names ranging from Alexine to Alessa to Alicia — are asked to do everything that modern-day Alexa pulls off with voice commands and smart speakers.

Along the way there’s a dragon and a naked rear end. The ad also gets in a dig at the “fake news” set and even impeachment history when a President Nixon character asks his secretary to remind him to “delete those tapes.”

DeGeneres and de Rossi then get in their car at the end and use Alexa one more time, to play Ellen’s favorite song. It’s a nod to Echo Auto, a $50 device that connects to the Alexa smartphone app and plays through car speakers. Amazon’s push into car-related tech featured heavily at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this year.

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