Burger King’s “OK Google” ad gets shot down
Burger King got itself into internet trouble after launching a 15-second commercial that included a mention of the hotphrase “OK Google“. The actor in the commercial then queries “What is the Whopper burger?” and prompts certain Android and Google Home devices to read out of the introduction to the Whopper’s Wikipedia article which was, at one point, edited to promote the burger.
Various outlets have reported on the efficacy of the ad, triggering some devices while not triggering others. Throughout the day, Burger King’s open-source Wikipedia article was vandalized to include mentions of ingredients such as “rat meat,” “toenail clippings,” and a “medium-sized child.
Wikipedia locked down editing privileges for the article temporarily as it reverted the article to the state it was in before the campaign. Burger King later claimed that Google was able to prevent the ad from triggering any of its enabled devices. Google stated that it did not coordinate with the fast food company on the ad and declined to comment on it. The New York Times reports that the ad was to play during late night slots on national networks.
Burger King president José Cil said in an interview prior as the campaign went to air that the company decided to pursue a new avenue of conveying “a story about our product.”
“We think about our guests’ perception and their perspective on how we interact with them,” Cil then said, “but on balance we felt this was a really positive way to connect with them.”
This is not the first time that smart speakers and other devices have been susceptible to accidentally wakes from broadcast media, but it’s the first time that the mechanism was intentionally used for marketing purposes — it may not be the last.