By Barry Janoff
March 18, 2017: Reggie Miller, a former NBA star and now a member of the broadcast crew covering the NCAA Div. I Men’s Basketball Tournament, drinks Coca-Cola, sleeps late and is a messy eater whose favorite song is "Kiss From a Rose" by Seal.
We know this because Miller shares that information in a new campaign from Amazon Echo that is breaking during March Madness on CBS and Turner Sports’ TBS, TNT and truTV.
Miller, a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, appears in a series of 15-second spots that show how he gets through his day with the assistance of Amazon Echo, which he uses to connect to the voice-controlled intelligent personal assistant service Alexa.
Amazon signed with the NCAA in 2014 as a corporate partner.
The TV spots are part of a larger multi-media campaign during the Tournament, including Internet, social media (#JustAskAlexa), NCAA March Madness Live available through Amazon Alexa devices and Alexa providing real-time tournament scores, schedule information and live radio feeds of the games.
Lead agency is Wongdoody, Seattle/Los Angeles, working with Amazon’s in-house creative department.
Seattle-based Amazon has used other broadcasters and analysts during previous March Madness campaigns, including Craig Sager, Steve Smith and Grant Hill in 2014 for Kindle Fire; Miller for Kindle Fire in 2015; and Smith and Hill last year for Echo.
Previous Amazon Echo ads have featured Alec Baldwin, Missy Elliott, Jason Schwartzman, Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood and Dan Marino.
In "Show Some Hustle," Miller is encouraged to refill his refrigerator with Coca-Cola by an over-the-top coach who appears in Miller’s kitchen. "Alexa, order some Coke," he says to his nearby Echo.
In "Reggie Comes Clean," he is eating a burger while watching March Madness on TV and drips sauce on his shirt. A basketball ref, who just happens to be in the living room, blows his whistle and says, "Excessive ketchup resulting in a possible stain." Miller asks Alexa to "order stain remover."
"Reggie Turns It Up" finds Miller making a sandwich in his kitchen, singing along to "Kiss From a Rose" playing over his Echo speaker. A college mascot appears and mimes for Miller to turn up the volume, which happens via a request to Alexa. Miller then goes into full karaoke mode by belting out the Seal song, using his mustard container as a microphone.
In "Reggie Is Not A Morning Person," two TV announcers are watching Miller asleep in bed. "Looks like Reggie is off to a sluggish start," one observes. Without moving, Miller asks Alexa, "Turn on the coffee maker." "That’s not in the playbook, but it should be," the second announcer says. His partner replies, "They don’t call him Cream-and-Sugar for nothing." The other guy offers, "They don’t call him Cream-and-Sugar" as Miller looks on from his bed.
Miller is also appearing in a new spot for State Farm, "Combinations."
March Madness Alexa Skill, available through Amazon Alexa devices, enables fans to ask March Madness and other questions related to scores and game results, along with direct access to play-by-play for all games provided by Westwood One.
"Alexa, ask March Madness what games are on now?"
"Alexa, ask March Madness what's the score?"
"Alexa, ask March Madness for the score of the North Carolina game."
"Alexa, ask March Madness what time the Kansas game starts?"
Wynn Las Vegas and Amazon recently unveiled plans to equip all 4,748 hotel rooms at Wynn Las Vegas with Echo. According to Wynn Las Vegas,
“The introduction of this technology into every guest room . . . will be an industry first in the world, allowing guests of Wynn Las Vegas to control various hotel room features with a series of voice commands via Alexa, the brain behind Echo," offered a spokesperson from Wynn Las Vegas.
NCAA Corporate Champions are AT&T, Capital One and Coca-Cola.
NCAA Corporate Partners are Allstate, Amazon Echo, Buffalo Wild Wings, Buick (General Motors), Enterprise, Infiniti, Lowe’s, LG, Marriott, Nabisco, Northwestern Mutual, Pizza Hut, Reese’s (Hershey), Unilever and Wendy’s.
Watch B-Dubs Put Real Time, Overtime Into March Madness