Published: Thu, April 13, 2017
Sci-tech | By Jackie Newman

Burger King's Whopper get negative Wikipedia edits in ad gag

Burger King's Whopper get negative Wikipedia edits in ad gag

It could be expected that Burger King, by triggering Google Home to search for this product, would irritate more than just vegans and vegetarians.

For anyone with a Google Home near their TV, that strangely phrased request will prompt the speaker to begin reading the Wikipedia entry for the Whopper. According to Adweek, Google was not involved in the making of this new commercial.

The 15-second ad features someone in a Burger King uniform leaning into the camera before saying, "OK Google, what is the Whopper burger?" Burger King parent company Restaurant Brands International reported a 7.9 percent increase in second quarter sales at Burger King restaurants in the United States and Canada with revenue of $1.04 billion. This, to me, is equal parts clever and creepy - clever in that it's a neat little trick Burger King made a decision to try, creepy in that I'm not sure I want advertisers taking advantage of the fact that I have smart devices on and around me nearly all the time. Cue Google Home assistants everywhere spewing information about Whoppers. As you can see in the video above, the Google Home lights up when it hears "Ok Google", but then doesn't respond when the rest of the phrase is uttered in the ad.

It Google doesn't appear to have been complicit in Burger King's ad. Google has, however, had some complaints about their Home device after their own Super Bowl commercial activated nearby Google Home units. But the plug could give a boost to a device that is playing catch-up with the Echo.

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Burger King's ploy is a unique way to engage a TV audience, but consumers don't like it when their smart assistants try to sell them things. However, lots of Google Home owners probably wouldn't take kindly to their device being hijacked by BK, which is likely why Google killed it. Burger King still got some press for its ad, though, so it's probably not too heartbroken about it no longer working as intended. It's a clever way of getting viewers' attention, but it's also a really quick way of getting on viewers' nerves - just look at the reactions people had when ads accidentallytriggered voice assistants in the past.

The page also now contains references to the controversy itself and subsequent Wikipedia editing, because the internet is a snake that perpetually eats its own tail.

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