Burger King's Whopper gets prank Wikipedia edits in ad gag

The internet barely had time to be annoyed for that new 15 second Burger King ad before Google shut the whole thing down.

Your voice assistant could turn into an annoying advertiser if a marketing concept introduced by Burger King takes off.

In a demo, the ad prompts a Google Home voice-activated speaker to start reading a description of the Whopper from Wikipedia. For instance, you can ask Google Home to read you the news or tell you the weather forecast.

Fast-food chain Burger King said on Wednesday it will start televising a commercial for its signature Whopper sandwich that is created to activate Google voice-controlled devices, raising questions about whether marketing tactics have become too invasive. Meantime, we've tried in out on a Home unit we have around the office and can confirm that the commercial no longer has the intended effect.

Using one device, a television, to trigger another device, a voice-activated speaker, could be viewed as too invasive - especially among people watching the program who are not Burger King customers.

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According to David Carroll, associate professor of media design at the Parsons School of Design, Burger King's approach might be a novel gimmick, but it will wear off fast. For one, it has to use weird phrasing - "What is the Whopper burger?" - because that's the query that actually gets the result it wants.

Burger King did not immediately respond to a question asking whether the company had any concerns about angering consumers. Earlier in 2017, a San Diego station's story about a six-year-old girl who bought a dollhouse with Amazon's Echo speaker, a competing home assistant, set off Echo devices when the command was repeated on air. Interestingly, it looks like Burger King edited that entry to get it to include the Whopper's ingredient list.

In March, Google Home irritated people when, unprompted, it alerted them to the opening of "Beauty and the Beast".

Contrary to reports claiming Google has disabled the functionality, we were just able to summon the Assistant by playing the ad. Should companies try to break through your TV to continue their advertising via your connect devices?

  • Delia Davidson