Our favorite tech companies spend millions on commercials to introduce users to a new product. Amazon recycled a Celebrity Apprentice task starring Gary Busey to introduce the world to Fire TV.
Television commercials have the ability to set the tone in conveying a message. First impressions are very important and a company like Apple, for instance, has created some great ones over the years. Its iconic "1984" commercial only aired twice on American television and was used to announce the first Macintosh. The company's "Get a Mac" campaign educated consumers on some of the differences between a Mac and a PC and, in turn, ignited sales of Apple computers. Apple's iPhone commercials have also educated consumers on what an iPhone can do. The company's iPhone 4 ad "Meet Her" focused on its new FaceTime feature and showed a grandfather seeing his granddaughter for the first time via FaceTime thousands of miles away.
Then, there are commercials that just don't get it right and, in turn, have the potential of turning consumers off to a new product.
Amazon falls into this category with its new Amazon Fire TV set-top box commercial starring Gary Busey. The actor has a reputation for his erratic ways and eccentricities, which he displayed on the 13th season of Celebrity Apprentice last year, especially during a task he starred in for a commercial for LG (shown below). The actor's performance was so ill-received that Donald Trump uttered his famous, "you're fired" line to the Oscar-winning actor.
Amazon's first Fire TV commercial shouldn't have been a repackaged version of an ad that got the actor thrown off the show, yet that's what the company chose to do.
Obviously, Amazon is going for an irreverent tongue-in-cheek approach. What they failed to realize is that by reducing their message to a sophomoric one-note joke, they convey a lack of respect for their product and its launch.
The commercial exploits Gary Busey's love of talking to inanimate objects. He says hello to a lamp and uses his telepathic skills to broadcast what he's hearing the lamp say in his mind. He then greets the pants he's wearing by saying "hello pants" and reveals "it's very frustrating when things don't listen, especially high tech things."
We soon move on to Gary Busey holding a Roku remote control and a shot of its search feature, and since the actor speaks to everything, he gets completely frustrated when he starts shouting, "Find Gary Busey" and nothing happens. No one told Gary Busey that Roku doesn't have a verbal search feature, but guess what does? Amazon Fire TV.
The next scene shows a more relaxed Gary Busey holding an Amazon Fire TV remote control, and its voice search finally allows the actor to talk to something that elicits a response. This blows Gary Busey's mind and causes the actor to let out a howling scream.
If Amazon wants consumers to take their products seriously, they need to start by doing so themselves. They might want to rethink using a failed ad from a task on a reality show to showcase and introduce the world to Amazon Fire TV for the first time. On a positive note, the ad does a great job of advertising Gary Busey.