- U.K. train ticketer Trainline is promoting the release of its first voice-enabled app with a video that dramatizes a hip-hop duet between Google Assistant and Biq Shaq, the character portrayed by YouTube comedian Michael Dapaah, whose parody song "Man's Not Hot" went viral last fall, according to Complex.
- The ad features Big Shaq asking travel questions of the app, which fires back answers in the style of a hip-hop duet. Saying, "OK Google, talk to Trainline," activates the app, and then the line "It's time to rhyme with my partner in crime, say whaaat?" triggers the interactive rap duet to begin. The feature also offers train-related jokes and facts, according to Trainline.
- The short created by agency BBH aims to demonstrate how the app can help simplify travel planning through voice technology, and can be seen on YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram and Spotify. Trainline's new Google Assistant-enabled app is available for iOS and Android.
Trainline's promotion starring Biq Shaq is a lighthearted way to showcase the U.K. ticket vendor's new voice-activated app that was released last year as part of the company's efforts to experiment with emerging tech. The two-minute clip shared across social channels will likely drive some buzz and experimentation around the new app.
In Trainline's home country, smart speakers are steadily becoming more popular. One-tenth of U.K. households have a voice-enabled device, which is expected to rise to 48% by 2022, per data from OC&C Strategy Consultants. Currently, 8% of U.K. households own an Amazon Echo device, while 2% have a Google Home. By 2022, smart speakers are forecast to drive higher spending, as the new tech eliminates some friction points in consumers' mobile purchasing experience. Smart speakers are projected to deliver 3.5 billion pounds ($4.86 billion) of spending in the U.K within the next four years.
Trainline is the latest company that's tapping voice tech to ease the travel planning and purchasing experience, a common frustration for many consumers around the globe, and while strengthening their relationships with consumers through emerging tech. In December, United Airlines unveiled a Google Assistant app to let flyers use compatible devices to check on flight information. In February, Red Roof introduced a skill for Amazon Alexa that lets people ask questions about making travel plans for the hotel chain, including "can I bring my dog?" or "do you have any deals?"