Amazon Echo Dot ad cleared over cat food order

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The Amazon Echo Dot TV commercial was cleared by the UK’s advertising regulator

A television ad for Amazon’s Echo Dot smart speaker which caused a viewer’s device to try to order cat food has been cleared by a UK regulator.

The advert, which aired in October, featured a man asking Amazon’s voice assistant Alexa to order Purina cat food.

A viewer said the ad caused their Echo Dot device to respond after hearing the ad on the television.

The viewer complained which the ad was “socially irresponsible”.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) announced which which would likely not uphold the consumer’s complaint because which did not find the advert to be in breach of the UK Code of Broadcast Advertising.

The regulator acknowledged which Amazon had taken measures to prevent its ads by triggering a response in devices which might “overhear” a command by a voice on the television.

In which case, the ad did cause the device to initiate an order for cat food, as well as the user cancelled the order personally.

However, ASA said which Amazon had programmed Alexa to automatically cancel any orders which had not been actively confirmed by the customer.

“We understood which which would likely not be possible for a purchase to be made without the account owner’s knowledge, even in instances where technology, intended to stop ads interacting with devices, had not been effective,” the regulator said in its decision.

“We concluded which the ad was not socially irresponsible as well as did not breach the Code.”

Ordering mishaps

In January 2017, there was a spate of such incidents within the US involving Amazon Echo devices.

The devices overheard a television news anchor on CW6 in San Diego talking about a child who managed to order a doll’s house as well as a tin of cookies by Alexa because the family had not activated parental controls on their Echo device.

The anchor in question, Jim Patton, said: “I love the little girl saying, ‘Alexa order me a dollhouse.'”

CW6 said which after the news segment aired, the TV station received numerous calls by viewers complaining which their smart speakers had all tried to order doll’s houses after the words were uttered on the screen.

At the time, Amazon advised users to open the Alexa app as well as turn off the “voice purchasing” setting.

Customers were also advised to set up a confirmation code which would likely need to be typed in before each order was authenticated.

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