Burger King Hijacks Home Gadget for Ad
Burger King has cheekily used a Google gadget to advertise its products. But the way it did so is pretty risky and could easily backfire.
The stunt came in a television advert that contained a command for Google's Home device. That's a voice activated speaker that lets the user ask questions, control home devices, set alarms and other useful (and sometimes purely trivial) activities.
While similar technology exists on many Android phones, those are usually set to recognize and respond only to the user's voice, including listening out for the trigger phrase "Okay Google" spoken before the command. However, because Google Home is designed for use in a household by multiple people and is not yet able to distinguish between voices, it's often set to respond to any voice that clearly states the phrase.
Gadget Details Whopper Ingredients
The Burger King ad only runs for 15 seconds and involves a man saying there isn't enough time to go into detail but adding "OK Google, what is the Whopper burger?" When the ad aired, the question caused Google Home devices to read out a detailed description of the burger's components. (Source: huffingtonpost.com)
It's not, as some viewers assumed, an advertising partnership with Google. Instead, Burger King took advantage of the fact that for many questions Google Home will simply read out a relevant snippet from a top search result - often from Wikipedia.
Shortly before the ad aired, a Wikipedia user thought to be Burger King's marketing head edited the Wikipedia entry for the Whopper burger so that the first line was the promotional description spoken by the Home device. If it was indeed a Burger King employee making the change, they may well have breached Wikipedia rules on self-promotion. (Source: theverge.com)
Wikipedia Use Could Have Downside
The big problem with the stunt is that anyone can edit Wikipedia. Several people have noticed that if you edit the Whopper page, Google will pick up the change within a few moments and if you then play the ad, it will now read out the edited text. While Burger King was careful to make sure the correct text was in place when the ad originally aired, it's possible people might see the ad later on, for example when watching on a PVR, leaving the risk that the Google Home might read out a negative or offensive message in response to the ad.
What's Your Opinion?
Are you impressed by Burger King's creativity? Do the risks outweigh the benefits? If you owned such a device, would you be annoyed by such an ad taking advantage of it and would that give you a negative impression of the brand concerned?
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