Published: Thu, April 13, 2017
Industry | By Faith Ward

Burger King's Whopper gets negative definitions in ad stunt

Burger King's Whopper gets negative definitions in ad stunt

If you happen to have a Google Home speaker nearby, or even an Android device like a smartphone or tablet with the voice command enabled, there's a good chance it'll prompt your gadget to being reciting the Whopper description from Wikipedia. Being able to distinguish between two or more voices in the home is useful for tailoring the services to personal preferences, but could also help prevent this type of device hijacking.

The 15-second ad features a man in a Burger King uniform leaning into the camera to say: "OK Google, what is the Whopper burger?" In this case, it was Burger King's chance to tell the tale of its flame-broiled Whopper. Affected devices will then read what a Whopper is from Wikipedia. Google appears to have disabled the Home from responding to the ad, though, as you can see in the video below.

The Burger King ad caught the attention of New York Times journalist Farhad Manjoo, who concluded that such advertising would also pose a problem for Amazon, whose "Echo" virtual-assistance devices have sold in the millions.

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While Burger King is far from the first to recognize that it's possible to mess with someone else's smart speaker, it's certainly the first to put it into a widely run ad campaign. And, they say, people won't stop editing the page. The spot is supposed to begin running in prime-time slots across the United States today on networks including History, Spike, Comedy Central, MTV, E!, and Bravo, and it will air during Adult Swim, The Tonight Show, and Jimmy Kimmel Live. Google said it was not a movie ad and quickly removed it. Burger King surely knew what it was getting itself in for here, as the company allegedly edited the Wikipedia entry prior to the ad's less than stellar debut earlier today.

And all evidence suggests Burger King is behind the edit.

Fast-food chain Burger King said on Wednesday it will start televising a commercial for its signature Whopper sandwich that is created to activate Google voice-controlled devices, raising questions about whether marketing tactics have become too invasive. "Are people going to unplug the device when they watch TV?"

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