Amazon Echo Dot ad cleared after cat food order

Amazon Echo Dot ad cleared after cat food order

It is the voice-activated device that it supposed to make it simple to play music, check the weather or order a takeaway.

The complaint suggested that it was "socially irresponsible" of Amazon to do such a thing, after having suffered the stress of seeing their little virtual shopping basket violated by the appearance of some Purina sachets.

The ad, seen on October 5, demonstrated people using the device in various situations. In many cases, they trigger Alexa devices (it happens a lot), and whilst most of the time they are programmed to recognise them for what they are and ignore them, on this occasion, the complainant has a successful order of Purina cat food. "Would you like to buy it?" However, one Echo Dot owner in the United Kingdom has filed a complaint with the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) after a TV ad triggered their Dot to attempt a Purina cat food order. They cancelled the order before it arrived.

The Advertising Standards Authority investigated but yesterday said it had cleared Amazon's advert and found it had not breached their code.

"To shop with Alexa, customers must ask Alexa to order a product and then confirm the purchase with a "yes" response to purchase via voice", said a spokesman for the retail giant.

Amazon said they "marked" ads to prevent them from triggering responses from devices in homes, and customers were also asked to confirm a purchase or it would be automatically cancelled.

"Therefore we understood that it would not be possible for a purchase to be made without the account owner's knowledge, even in instances where technology, meant to stop ads interacting with devices, had not been effective".

The ASA decided the ad was not in breach of the United Kingdom advertising code.

The company has announced that its 2017 and 2016 SmartCast P, M and E-Series 4K display sets can be controlled via a new Alexa skill you install on your Echo - so you can't bark out voice commands to the TVs themselves, but you can control them by talking to your Amazon smart speaker, once you've set up the skill. Most notably, a little girl ordered a dolls house with Alexa after seeing her parents placing orders.

The Echo, which now costs £74.99 for the standard version or £39.99 for the smaller "Dot" version, was one of the most popular Christmas presents past year.

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