Amazon Alexa debuted on South Park last night and it set off Amazon Echo devices across America. Google Home and Android devices weren’t left out either. We have seen this before. Earlier in the year, Burger King pulled a similar stunt with its “Whopper Burger” television ad which activated Google Homes and had them recite the Wikipedia entry related to Burger King’s Whopper. The reaction at the time ranged from laughter to outrage. In the end, Burger King and its ad agency won a top industry award, a Cannes Lions for the stunt.
South Park Goes Full Alexa
Twitter was abuzz last night with comments from viewers humored by their Amazon Echo and Google Homes being activated by dialogue spoken by South Park’s animated characters.
— Matt Beals (@matt_beals) September 14, 2017
We have an Alexa and a Google Home and South Park repeatedly screwed with both of them tonight.
— Jeff S. (@tinmanic) September 14, 2017
Wtf @SouthPark thanks for setting off all my Google Homes and Android devices 🙄
— Matt Varner (@Mesut_and_Tie) September 14, 2017
— PMB (@Patience_Marie) September 14, 2017
— Kenny Eaton (@Kenny_623) September 14, 2017
Two South Park Alexa Gags in One Show
The first gag that introduced Alexa involved the kids saying obscene phrases that are a hallmark of South Park. However, they were saying the phrases while asking Alexa to add items to the shopping list. This results in Alexa repeating the same obscene phrases. They also went ahead and added lots of chips to the family shopping list.
— Vandal (@SSnatter) September 14, 2017
— Barto (@scottbarto) September 14, 2017
The second gag is about Alexa getting replaced by humans that have lost their jobs. In this instance, we see “Jim Bob” attempting to perform all of the basic functions of an Alexa.
— South Park (@SouthPark) September 14, 2017
— mike bliss (@mikeisbliss) September 14, 2017
Alexa and Google Home as Cultural Phenomena
The presence of Amazon Echo and Google Home in pop culture says something about how quickly voice assistants have become embedded in the fabric of our daily lives. A year ago smart speakers were a novelty. Today, they are everywhere. Futuresources says 4.2 million smart speakers were shipped in just the second quarter of 2017 and that Q3 will be higher. You can bet the Holiday season will see many more Amazon Echos, Google Homes, HomePods and others sold, and even more references in our entertainment media.