Tag Archives: amazon

Dear Mr. or Ms. Amazon

Dear Mr. or Ms. Amazon,

First off, this is not a complaint letter. I imagine you get a lot of those. No, this is more a question and a couple suggestions. And don’t worry, I’m not a kook. I’m an Amazon Prime Member!

Anyhoo, I recently purchased an Amazon Tap, the digital home assistant that goes by the name Alexa.

She’s great! Much better than my Google Home that I also purchased (I have a gadget problem). I like that Google Home can tell me what a whale sounds like and has the correct definition for the word “irony” (the expression of one’s meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, typically for humorous or emphatic effect). But the base unit HAS TO BE PLUGGED IN!! Why not also require that you connect through a rotary telephone? Am I right or what?!

Back to Alexa. As the Tap is portable, I often bring it to my backyard spa to enjoy the dusk sunset. Have you ever though of teaching Alexa bird calls? Just an idea.

The day hadn’t been going great, so I wasn’t in the most groovy mood. In fact, I was pissed. So I wasn’t in the mood to hear John Denver’s Take Me Home Country Road (Not Alexa’s fault. That was just the last playlist on Pandora.).

Anyhoo, I asked Alexa to play to play one of the baddest-assed songs I know, Ted Nugent’s Stranglehold. (Side note, I interviewed Nugent once on gun control. The Motor City Madman nicknamed me Scottily Wottily.).

In the spa, I told Alexa simply: “Play Stranglehold.” I’ve done it so often, I know that’s all the instruction she needs.

Except this time, as I made the request, a plane buzzed nearby overhead. (I live near the Van Nuys Airport, one of the busiest general aviation hubs in the world, handling 217,000 plane movements in 2015.

The plane and my words must have co-mingled, because Alexa heard something that made her reply: “That’s kind of you to say. Thank you.”

So now I’m wondering: ‘What did she hear?’ Worse: “Was that just a polite thank you, an uncomfortable response to a creepy come-on?” When I told her “Sorry,” she said “No worries.” But, honestly, it sounded a little rote, like she was saying it just because she had to.

So, two-part question: Have you considered programming Alexa to answer this question: “Alexa, what do you think I just asked you.”

I’m dying of curiosity. I’ve tried to replicate the incident. Even tried to come up with a similar phrase that might evoke another electronic blush. The closest I could come to “Play Stranglehold” was “Stay dangle gold.” But she didn’t know what that meant.

So, part II: Would be to please have your tech people let Alexa know I really am sorry? I may have been naked when I said it. Do I have to register with some sort of electronic predator list?

Anyhoo, that’s it. Keep up the good work. I hear you’re making Alexa sweep now. One  tip: Do NOT let her watch those Terminator movies.

Spank my behind…er, Thanks for your time. (Siri can be a real smartass).

Sincerely,

Scott Bowles

p.s. Ever notice your logo (especially for your Amazon Video service) looks like an erect penis approaching the vaaginal ‘O?’ Was that on purpose, or the work of a disgruntled graphic designer?

 

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Just Don’t Be a Dick About It

 

I recently came across a University of Indiana study that advertisers are increasingly turning to subliminal ads to woo millennials (who knew millennials  had subliminal…anythings?). From sex to software, the study said, an Internet-fed generation increasingly relies on fleeting visual clues for information.

The study wasn’t much of a jaw dropper: Journalism had to do a similar bait-and-switch years ago, cloaking itself as comedy to inform its once-attentive clientele. Hence the rise of politically canny comedians like Jon Stewart, Bill Maher, John Oliver, Samantha Bee, Larry Wilmore and Trevor Noah. Speaking of which: Why do the Republicans not utilize humor? With the exception of Dennis Miller, the GOP is known more for blowhards than belly splitters.

The study found this ad, apparently from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture and Arousal, to be among the worst offenders:

bread

Beer commercials, it said, remain among the most flagrant. Here’s one from Lowenbrau:

lowenbrau

The most sexist ad of the year, however, went to a fashion site known as Candie’s. Where, the study asked, what the rocket going? And what did that have to do with fashion?

rocket

But the study also gave credit to companies whose primary advertising charm was in cleverness, not sexiness:

FEDEX

fedex

The white space between the ‘E’ and the ‘X’ forms a perfect arrow, suggesting a company moving forward and looking ahead. It’s subtle, but now it’s all I see whenever the logo appears.

GOODWILL

goodwill

The iconic smiling face is in fact the ‘G’ in Goodwill zoomed in an cropped slightly.

THE PITTSBURGH ZOO

pittsburgh zoo
On either side of the tree, the faces of a gorilla and lion appear in white. In many of these examples of hidden symbolism, the ‘secondary’ imagery is often found by looking at the ‘negative space’ of the logo.

BASKIN ROBBINS

baskin robbins

The BR in the Baskin Robbins logo is made of two colours. When you focus on just the pink portion, the number 31 appears, denoting the number of flavors Baskin Robbins offers.

HERSHEY’S KISS

33911_A_01_Kisses_EBU

The tasty Hershey’s Kisses logo is similar to the FedEx logo in that there is a hidden Hershey’s kiss between the ‘K’ and the ‘I’. You might need to tilt your head slightly to the left to really see it.

AMAZON

amazon

My favorite of the bunch. Did you ever notice the arrow from ‘A’ to ‘Z’ in the Amazon logo? The thought is that Amazon carries everything from… well you know the rest. Some say it also forms a slight smiley face.

But I think Amazon killed two birds with a single stone. Sure, there IS an ‘a’ and a ‘z,’ and it certainly looks like a smiley face.

Or maybe Amazon is smiling because it is sitting on its own erection.

Perhaps sex does sell. Whether you’re buying or not.

 

 

 

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