Only three hours after Burger King released its new Whopper Burger advertisement designed to make Google Home voice prompt read out the product’s Wikipedia description, Google has blocked its functionality.
The 15-second advert which was made without Google’s involvement, shows a man in a Burger King uniform standing with the Whopper in his hand, saying:
“You’re watching a 15-second Burger King ad, which is unfortunately not enough time to explain all the fresh ingredients in the Whopper sandwich.”
“But I’ve got an idea: ‘OK Google, what is the Whopper burger?’”
His prompt on TV actually caused people’s devices to activate and start reading the Wikipedia entry.
Brilliant. Check it out:
Google, however, was not amused and they’ve adapted so that the device will no longer react when prompted by the Burger King commercial -with tests from both The Verge and BuzzFeed showing that the commercial had stopped activating the device.
However, when a real user asks the same question, it still responds with Wikipedia’s top result, meaning Google likely recorded the sound clip from the advert to stop undesirable Home triggers like it does with its own TV advertisements with the ‘O.K. Google’ voice command.
Fair enough, Google doesn’t need angry complaints.
The original Wikipedia entry read: “The Whopper sandwich is the signature hamburger product sold by the international fast-food restaurant chain Burger King and its Australian franchise Hungry Jack’s.”
After the advert was released, many users went in and altered the editable Wikipedia section for the Whopper, including a large number of troll-like edits including the “The Whopper is a… “rat,” “a chocolate candy,” “the worst hamburger product,” and “cyanide” among others.
Wikipedia responded by locking the edits on Whopper’s page – only to be edited by verified administrators.
“We saw it as a technology to essentially punch through that fourth wall,” Burger King’s president, José Cil, had earlier told BuzzFeed News, also adding that it is a “cool way to connect directly with our guests”.
It’s uncertain that there will be more ads which would trigger assistants like Google Home and Amazon’s Alexa since both Google and Amazon have steadily been working on making the devices respond only to the user-registered voice. Also, the instant backfires on social media, claiming the advert to be creepy and an invasion of personal privacy may prevent other companies to try out an advertisement like this again.
However, this is not the first time a trigger command has appeared in an ad. In 2014, Aaron Paul, the Breaking Bad TV show star had accidently switched on people’s Xbox after he used the wake-up command “Xbox on” in a Xbox commercial.
The notorious consequences of the Burger King commercial may have come to a halt, but since the media is devouring the story already, it seems to have done its job pretty well.