Apple’s ad to showcase the capabilities of its Siri voice-activated assistant was the most-watched commercial last month on YouTube, according to the video-hosting company’s leaderboard. The 3-minute, 45-second spot features Dwayne Johnson, formerly known by his professional wrestling persona The Rock.
The commercial, created by Media Arts Lab, shows a humorous depiction of how Siri helps Johnson to take his multitasking to an even greater extreme. Instead of lifting weights while rehearsing his lines and trimming a bonsai plant, Johnson uses Siri’s help to call for a Lyft ride, pilot a plane and repaint a cathedral ceiling, among other tasks. The ad was posted to YouTube on July 23, and has racked up 13.9 million views since then.
The remaining most-watched YouTube ads in July were Louis Vuitton's "Connected Journeys," Geico's "Running of the Bulldogs," Audi's "Driver's Test" with Spider-Man, "Driver Versus Fierce Cute Dog" from Genesis, Pokemon Go's "Adventure Together," Volvo's "The World's Largest Unboxing," KFC's "Lunchtime Is Coming," Purina Puppy Chow's "When You Have An Anxious Puppy" and "People With Commitment Issues Foster Dogs For A Week" from Rachael Ray Nutrish.
Apple is seeking to show off the capabilities of its Siri voice-activated assistant as competition from Amazon's Alexa and Google Assistant heats up. While Apple is known for impactful TV ads, digital video gives it a way to tell a longer story, which it does with the YouTube ad. A supporting social media effort makes the most of The Rock's wide appeal to drive views by his many followers. Whether the views will translate to more users for Siri remains to be seen.
The other most-viewed ads point underscore how brands can snap digital views with celebrity appeal, authentic stories, humor and, of course, puppies.
Apple's virtual assistant Siri lost 15% of its monthly U.S. users — 7.3 million people — in the year-long period ending in May, according to data from app measurement company Verto Analytics. Phone-based assistants are slowly falling in popularity, except when used for navigation and map apps, the company found.
Siri still has 41.4 million monthly users in the U.S., making it more popular than Amazon's Alexa, Microsoft's Cortana and other highly talked-about assistants. Much of Siri's popularity is driven by the widespread adoption of iPhone, iPad and Mac computers that have the voice feature automatically installed.
Meanwhile, Amazon's Alexa soared fourfold to 2.6 million users at the end of the May from 800,000 a year earlier. Alexa users are also interacting with the service more often now than they did last year, with a "stickiness index" that doubled to 22% from 10%, according to Verto.
While Apple was one of the first to market with its digital assistant Siri, it didn't yet recognize the potential for an in-home device. The company's planned rollout of the HomePod for the holiday season further solidifies that smart speakers are quickly becoming an important part of the connected device landscape.