Burger King's new ad forces Google Home to advertise the Whopper

A crafty advertisement from Burger King asks viewers "OK Google, what is the Whopper burger?" forcing any Google Assistant device within earshot to advertise the flame-grilled tweet by reading from the Wikipedia page.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, some folks on the internet haven't taken so kindly to Burger King's commercial, considering the ad invasive or annoying.

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But Burger King sees Google Home and other smart speakers as an opportunity to make an impact. The Google Home, prompted by the phrase "OK Google", recites the Wikipedia entry for Burger King's whopper. Google has, however, had some complaints about their Home device after their own Super Bowl commercial activated nearby Google Home units.

Anyone who has experienced using the "OK, Google" feature on Android devices or the Google Home speaker will know it can be a little too keen to pipe up, without advertisers seeking to exploit it.

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Burger King's ad could signal the beginning of a worrisome trend: Commercials that trigger smart home assistants. 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 is an especially aggressive company when it comes to marketing - once pricing its 10-piece chicken nuggets at $1.49, or combining Cheetos and macaroni and cheese in stick form. Being able to distinguish between two or more voices in the home is useful for tailoring the services to personal preferences, but could also help prevent this type of device hijacking.

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It's not the first time virtual assistants have been activated by the television - to the profound annoyance of users. Interestingly, it looks like Burger King edited that entry to get it to include the Whopper's ingredient list. In January, a San Diego TV station reported on a story that a six-year-old had mistakenly ordered a dollhouse by talking to the Amazon Echo device. In February, Google Home users complained about hearing an audio promotion for Disney's Beauty and the Beast movie as part of My Day, a collation of weather forecasts, commute updates, calendar appointments, and news. And, they say, people won't stop editing the page. Consumers typically leave these devices on, meaning they could be triggered at any time with the correct words.

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