The 15-second commercial causes a voice-activated Google Home device to read the Wikipedia entry for the Whopper. In the spot, a Burger King employee asked, “OK, Google. What is the Whopper burger?” and the phrase acted as a trigger for the device. That is, until Google took steps to disable the command shortly after.
Original BK Google Home Ad
BK’s plan was to let the ad generate buzz throughout the day, and then air it that night in New York, Miami and Los Angeles during The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel Live! Almost immediately, the stunt began to veer off course. Because Google gets its explanations from Wikipedia, people began editing the page entry to alter the list of ingredients; at one point it said the Whopper was made with “100% medium-sized child” as well as cyanide.
After the ad was pulled by Google, Burger King appeared to already have a work-around. As it turned out, BK created a revised version of the spot, which Google Home was not prepared to block, and aired it on TV. This new version also managed to trigger people’s devices.
Revised BK Google Home Ad
The whole stunt has raised concerns about the unauthorized hacking of voice-activated devices in an age when they are becoming more and more prevalent. And 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.
In the end, the stunt quickly became a trending topic across social media, generating lots of awareness for the brand. Check out their previous ad campaign that had its restaurants up in flames.
Daniel is an Art Director and Graphic Designer with over a decade of experience in advertising and marketing in the Greater Toronto Area.