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13 April 2017, 01:56 | Muriel Sparks
Burger King has a whopper of an idea, Google chews it up
The hamburger chain unveiled a 15-second ad Wednesday created to trigger Google Home devices into reciting the definition of a Whopper, pulled from the website Wikipedia.
Your voice assistant could turn into an annoying advertiser if a marketing concept introduced by Burger King takes off.
Interestingly, it's not the specific function, just the voice from the ad. Asking Home what a "Whopper sandwich" is in your own voice (like a Big Mac, but smaller) will bring up the Wikipedia entry as initially intended.
The ads can also Google on other devices - though, for a Google app on the iPhone, for instance, you have to press the speaker button. So, it's up to our friendly Burger King employee to get crafty when it comes to explaining the Whopper.
Burger King's ad could signal the beginning of a worrisome trend: Commercials that trigger smart home assistants. As you can see in the video above, the Google Home lights up when it hears "Ok Google", but then doesn't respond when the rest of the phrase is uttered in the ad.
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.
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Google said in a statement at the time that this was not an ad, but an experimental My Day feature that will "sometimes call out timely content".
One of which (via Engadget) altered the product description to: "The Whopper is a burger, consisting of a flame-grilled patty made with 100% rat and toenail clippings with no preservatives or fillers, topped with sliced tomatoes, onions, lettuce, pickles, ketchup and mayonnaise, served on a sesame seed bun".
It actually looks like Burger King went and edited the Whopper entry ahead of this ad being run.
Carroll said if brands start using voice assistants as vehicles for advertising, people might stop using them. Within the report, the presenter said live on air: "Alexa, order me a dollhouse", causing viewers' own Echoes to also attempt to order dollhouses. Consumers typically leave these devices on, meaning they could be triggered at any time with the correct words.
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