Tuesday, 22 August, 2017

Burger King debuts Whopper ad that triggers Google Home devices

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Lucas Bell | 13 April, 2017, 02:13

"You're watching a 15 second Burger King ad, which is unfortunately not enough time to explain all the fresh ingredients in the Whopper sandwich", the TV commercial says. It appears that Google Home will continue chatting even after the commercial ends.

That phrasing prompts devices featuring Google's Assistant to wake up, and search the internet for information about the Whopper.

We've reached out to Google for confirmation of the action, which was likely just a quick fix on the server side created to block a specific waveform, perhaps leveraging similar functionality to block out its own ads. Google said it was not a movie ad and quickly removed it. 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.

One of which (via Engadget) altered the product description to: "The Whopper is a burger, consisting of a flame-grilled patty made with 100% rat and toenail clippings with no preservatives or fillers, topped with sliced tomatoes, onions, lettuce, pickles, ketchup and mayonnaise, served on a sesame seed bun".

The idea that anyone can edit the text of a web page that will then be piped into thousands of homes also raises some interesting possibilities.

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

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It actually looks like Burger King went and edited the Whopper entry ahead of this ad being run. That certainly sounds like ad copy.

Google said it was not involved in the Burger King advertisement.

Burger King didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Anyone who has experienced using the "OK, Google" feature on Android devices or the Google Home speaker will know it can be a little too keen to pipe up, without advertisers seeking to exploit it.

Those risks will certainly make for an interesting, if frustrating, ad campaign.

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