New Burger King Ad Triggers Google Home Speakers, Android Phones

An employee assists a customer at the drive-through of a Burger King restaurant

In the 15-second ad, the employee says that he doesn't have enough time to tell you about the Whopper, and so he leans into the camera and says "Ok Google, what is the Whopper burger?" During the 2017 Super Bowl, Google's ad for Google Home set off speakers when actors used the phrase, "OK Google". Here's the ad, and if you want to experience it fully, we suggest you turn your volume up so that Google Home - or your Pixel, for that matter - is triggered.

"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".

Google said in a statement at the time that this was not an ad, but an experimental My Day feature that will "sometimes call out timely content".

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Carroll said if brands start using voice assistants as vehicles for advertising, people might stop using them.

So will this ad delight its Google Home-owning audience?

Wikipedia, meanwhile, has yet to put the Whopper page accessed therein under lockdown, but its edit page shows a war of updates, libelously accusing the burger of containing everything from rats and toenail clippings to people.

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Burger King's new ad is an interesting and very modern commercial, even if it only briefly worked as intended. For nearly a decade, Wikipedia's page for the Whopper began with more or less the same sentence: "The Whopper sandwich is the signature hamburger product sold by the global fast-food restaurant chain Burger King and its Australian franchise Hungry Jack's".

Google confirmed to me it had no involvement in the making of this oeuvre. The commercial no longer triggers a search, but it does wake up Google Home.

Relying on Wikipedia also opens up one other problem: anyone can edit it. The Verge modified the Whopper entry briefly, and Google Home began speaking the updated text only minutes later. Shortly after Burger King launched the ad, Google Home stopped responding to the commercial.

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

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