Do You Hang Out With Alexa Or Azuma?

Do you own an Amazon Echo or Amazon Echo Dot? If you do, do you refer to it as such when speaking with others, or do you refer to it by its personal assistant interactive name, Alexa? Do you feel some connection when you interchange with Alexa? How high touch is this high tech experience for you?

Amazon Alexa Dot.
Amazon Echo Dot.

I mention this because I found an article on a new product being offered soon in Japanese markets. Gatebox will offer a virtual hologram communication robot. Instead of Alexa, you can now have Azuma. She is sort of a small anime-style character, though the correct description is that she has a manga style, with “diaphanous skin, interminable legs, huge eyes and childish voice.” She waits on you in a sort of servitude style. To understand how this is being marketed, you have to see this concept movie:

I’m frankly a little freaked out by this commercial. It’s even borderline creepy to me. But it emphasizes our thought leadership that people purchase more than just a product or service. We claim that they find value in something that truly meets one or more of a combination of real needs. Those needs include:

  • The Need to Feel Heard & Understood
  • The Need to Belong and Be A Part of Something
  • The Need to Be In Control & Feel Assured
  • The Need to Feel Significant & Special
  • The Need to Feel Successful & Reach One’s Potential

In truth, that’s what Gatebox claims this will do. As it was translated from Japanese: “You know, somebody’s home for me. Feels great. Thought so on my way home.” Those are real feelings stemming from one or more of those above listed needs. It’s really akin to having a pet or a teddy bear or a blanket. What creates worth is not the cost of acquiring those goods, but the value one finds in those goods meeting the needs listed above.

By the way, I showed this product to a few millennials I am related to. They thought it was cool. Clearly there are high touch/high tech possibilities moving into the future.

One more thing: In U.S. dollars, Azuma is going for roughly $2,600.00. Take that to the bank, Teddy Ruxpin.

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