Burger King debuts Whopper ad that triggers Google Home devices

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

13 April, 2017

That's according to a new report that says Burger King is launching a marketing blitz for the ad.

In the 15-second ad, an actor dressed as a Burger King employee says he does not have enough time to tell about all the fresh ingredients in a Whopper.

Google Home owners, your smart speaker was almost hijacked today by an ad. Unfortunately, that ease of use also makes them particularly vulnerable to trolling, and while you might expect such shenanigans from a bored friend, you probably won't be prepared for a Burger King commercial to attempt a hijack of your know-it-all speaker.

One of which (via Engadget) altered the product description to: "The Whopper is a burger, consisting of a flame-grilled patty made with 100% rat and toenail clippings with no preservatives or fillers, topped with sliced tomatoes, onions, lettuce, pickles, ketchup and mayonnaise, served on a sesame seed bun".

The fast-food company's new TV ad features a person looking directly into the camera and saying "OK Google, what is the Whopper burger?", which - if everything goes as planned - will trigger Google devices like the Google Home assistant and Android phones that have enabled voice search. So, they conducted an experiment, and changed the copy on the Whopper's Wikipedia page, and the Google Home read it.

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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. 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. As of Wednesday afternoon, Google Home no longer responds to the commercial's voice command.

Burger King did not immediately respond to a question asking whether the company had any concerns about angering consumers.

Burger King's new ad is an interesting and very modern commercial, even if it only briefly worked as intended. In January, a news anchor accidentally ordered dollhouses through viewers' Echo devices during a segment on Alexa.

The ad is expected to run nationally Wednesday night on networks including Comedy Central, MTV and Bravo.


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