Widely regarded as the leader in autonomous vehicles, Waymo is slated to launch a public ride service later this year in Arizona. To build public awareness for the Uber/Lyft competitor and its technology, the Alphabet division appears to be embarking on an advertising campaign with the first ad going live today.
Tweeted by the official Jimmy Kimmel Live! account this afternoon, the over two-minute video features a hashtag labeling it as an advertisement. It is very much in the style of the late night comedian’s regular sketches and involves show personality Guillermo riding in a Chrysler Pacifica.
This being comedy, the long running “security guard” on the show was apparently not aware of the car’s self-driving nature, with the human “driver” leaving just before the vehicle autonomously took off. While video chatting with Kimmel, the ad tries to capture the normality of such cars and ride sharing services.
We wanted Guillermo to test ride a Waymo to show how safe and easy they are, but we thought he might be hesitant about getting in a car without a driver. So instead of telling him he would be in a driverless car we told him he was shooting a commercial for a new meat-flavored energy drink, put him in the backseat, and let the hijinks begin.
Again, this being an ad, it’s unclear whether the video was entirely staged and how genuine the reactions were. However, at the end of the day, the coolness factor of being in a self-driving vehicle was likely captured by the clip.
The video makes no reference to the public ride service soon launching in Chandler, Arizona, though it was shot in the city. More broadly, it reflects how the Alphabet division is increasingly going public. CEO John Krafcik made an appearance during the latter end of the I/O 2018 keynote earlier this month to discuss the AI behind the vehicles.
Last year, Waymo began a public service campaign about the benefits to self-driving cars for various parts of the population. The “Let’s Talk Self-Driving” campaign detailed the safety and transformative power of this technology for society. It partnered with groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the National Safety Council, Foundation for Blind Children, and Foundation for Senior Living.
This advertising is likely going to pick up as the services rolls out and expands to other cities.