Wednesday, 13 December, 2017

Burger King's Whopper get negative Wikipedia edits in ad gag

New Burger King ad wants an assist from Google Home 'OK, Google': Burger King's New Ad Will Trigger Your Google Devices
Garry Little | 13 April, 2017, 00:57

A new Burger King TV commercial is created to trigger Google's voice-controlled speakers in viewers' homes, adding a wrinkle to the debate over whether such devices have become too invasive.

A vehicle leaves a Burger King restaurant on July 27, 2015 in San Rafael, California.

Google Home, if placed close to the TV, will light up and rattle off a Wikipedia definition of what is in the 100% beef Whopper. So, they conducted an experiment, and changed the copy on the Whopper's Wikipedia page, and the Google Home read it.

Burger King isn't trying to do anything terrible here, they just want to grab a little bit more of your attention than a 15 second ad can realistically get. This, to me, is equal parts clever and creepy - clever in that it's a neat little trick Burger King chose to try, creepy in that I'm not sure I want advertisers taking advantage of the fact that I have smart devices on and around me nearly all the time.

Relying on Wikipedia also opens up one other problem: anyone can edit it. The Verge modified the Whopper entry briefly, and Google Home began speaking the updated text only minutes later.

Google Home houses the "Assistant" virtual assistant, which responds to voice commands after the user utters the words, "OK, Google". "Google and Amazon should work to stop this". 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.

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.

Burger King did not immediately respond to a question asking whether the company had any concerns about angering consumers. In January, a news anchor accidentally ordered dollhouses through viewers' Echo devices during a segment on Alexa. Interestingly, it looks like Burger King edited that entry to get it to include the Whopper's ingredient list. And a Super Bowl ad for Google Home mistakenly activated the always-listening device.

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

Google said that it wasn't an ad, but a trial of a new function that highlights things that users might be interested in. "Are people going to unplug the device when they watch TV?"

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