When it comes to marketing ploys, this one’s a whopper.
Burger King has launched an ad campaign that uses Google’s “wake words” to trigger devices into describing the fast food chain’s trademark sandwich.
“This is a 15-second Burger King ad, which is unfortunately not enough time to explain all the fresh ingredients in the Whopper sandwich,” says a very improbable-looking Burger King employee in the ad. “But I’ve got an idea. OK Google, what is the Whopper burger?”
The question prompts the Google Home smart speaker, and any Android devices that aren’t programmed to only recognize one voice, into reading a Wikipedia entry that describes the Whopper. A little sleuthing from The Verge shows how Burger King was able to get the description to be so flattering.
Burger King created the ad without Google’s permission, according to The New York Times. It’s not hard to see why. The commercial is likely to strike a nerve with consumers because it plays to our anxieties about bringing always-on devices, like the Google Home or Amazon Echo, into our homes.
The Times asked Burger King President José Cil if he was worried customers would find the ad invasive.
“We think about our guests’ perception and their perspective on how we interact with them, but on balance we felt this was a really positive way to connect with them,” he said.
Update: Google has updated its devices to prevent them from responding to the Burger King commercial, according to The Verge. Wikipedia has also returned the Whopper page to its original description and locked it so that it can’t be edited.