Burger King's newest TV ad has a disastrous flaw

Burger King

The 15-second ad features someone in a Burger King uniform leaning into the camera before saying, "OK Google, what is the Whopper burger?" It appears that Google Home will continue chatting even after the commercial ends.

This wakes up devices in the room that are configured to respond to the "OK Google" hotword.

"We saw it as a technology to essentially punch through that fourth wall", Burger King's president, José Cil, told BuzzFeed News, adding that it is a "cool way to connect directly with our guests". And anyway, Google didn't consider this an ad. That means this isn't an expansion of Google's ad tests (people weren't happy when Google built a Beauty and the Beast ad into the the speaker), but it also leads to some real issues for Burger King. Unfortunately, that ease of use also makes them particularly vulnerable to trolling, and while you might expect such shenanigans from a bored friend, you probably won't be prepared for a Burger King commercial to attempt a hijack of your know-it-all speaker. He says, "Hey Siri, set time for 14 minutes", and then "Hey Siri, play me waiting playlist", and later "Hey Siri, check the timer". And as we all know, anyone's free to edit Wikipedia. Interestingly, it looks like Burger King edited that entry to get it to include the Whopper's ingredient list.

On Wednesday afternoon, the definition had been changed to: "The Whopper is the worst hamburger product sold by the worldwide fast-food restaurant chain Burger King and its Australian franchise Hungry Jack's".

This is not the first time that television broadcasts have triggered voice devices at home. That certainly sounds like ad copy.

Burger King is launching full-fledged marketing blitz based on triggering voice-activated Google devices, in what could become a grim precedent for TV and radio ads talking directly to voice-activated gadgets like smartphones and Amazon's Echo speakers.

Wikipedia's editors, who are committed to ensuring the site isn't co-opted for advertising purposes, immediately reverted the entry to the more straightforward definition that existed before.


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