Here's why Burger King's Google device activation came back to bite them
Burger King on Wednesday announced that it has created a TV ad for its 'Whopper' sandwich that is designed to activate Google's voice-controlled devices. If a viewer has the Google Home assistant or an Android phone with voice search enabled within listening range of the TV, that last phrase - "Hello Google, what is the Whopper burger?" - is intended to trigger the device to search for Whopper on Google and read out the finding from Wikipedia.
This has triggered off questions at the level brands are going to in using marketing tactics which have become too intrusive. Even Google did not appeared to be too pleased with the marketing gimmick. Within hours of some media outlets showing how the Burger King ad was using the Google devices, the IT company stopped the commercial from waking the voice activated devices.
Rather than getting a pat on the back for its innovative idea, several people on Twitter trash the brand for the ads intrusive nature.
— Amit Nagar (@amitnquinnox) April 13, 2017
— Joshua Goose (@goldengoose74) April 13, 2017
— Motown Ms (@MotownMs) April 13, 2017
The 15-second ad starts with a Burger King employee holding up the sandwich 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?”
If a viewer has the Google Home assistant or an Android phone with voice search enabled within listening range of the TV, that last phrase - “Hello Google, what is the Whopper burger?” - is intended to trigger the device to search for Whopper on Google and read out the finding from Wikipedia.
“Burger King saw an opportunity to do something exciting with the emerging technology of intelligent personal assistant devices,” said a Burger King representative.
However, Google's action to stop the voice activation of the devices as within hours of the release of the ad a few mischievous users edited the Whopped Wikipedia page to make it humorous.
The ad, which became available on YouTube on Wednesday, was expected to run on US television during prime-time on networks such as Spike, Comedy Central, MTV, E! and Bravo, and also on late-night shows starring Jimmy Kimmel and Jimmy Fallon. It is unclear whether they will make changes to the ad when they air it.
This is one more step by advertisers and brands to get closer to consumers and their lives. However, like this, many other tactics used by brands have been frowned upon. This has prompted even Google and Facebook, two of the leading players in the digital advertising space to take action.
In fact, Google's popular video platform YouTube is expected to discontinue its 30-second unskippable ads next year in an attempt to improve the user experience and to make it less intrusive by brands. At the same time Facebook announced that it will stop the sound for the in-feed videos that automatically play.