If you’re a heavy user of Siri or Google Assistant, then you know exactly how annoying it is when your phone suddenly activates your personal digital assistant because someone else nearby say “Hey Siri” or “Okay Google”.
But when a corporation decides to exploit this little nuisance to sell its products, it becomes an invasive marketing tactic that would surely turn off a lot of people.
That’s exactly what happened when Burger King released a TV commercial in the US featuring a voice command to activate Google Home in homes.
The 15-second ad has an actor portrayed as a Burger King employee say “Okay Google, what is the Whopper burger?” towards the camera. This triggered Google’s smart speakers at home to light up and read out the Whopper’s ingredient when the ad was aired on TV on Wednesday.
For those who’ve never heard of Google Home, it’s a voice-activated speaker powered by Google’s personal digital assistant that you hook up to your home. You can ask questions to it like you normally would on your Android phone, and even tell it to do things like turning on the lights or play music on your stereo, provided they’re connected to your home wifi.
The device is only available in the US right now, hence the Burger King ad was mainly targeted for American viewers whose homes are connected to Google’s appliance.
It’s an intrusive marketing stunt that riled up a lot of people watching the ad on TV that day, as their Google Home devices became an extension of the Burger King ad without their consent.
But the worst part was that Google Assistant read the Whopper information off Wikipedia, a platform that can be edited by anyone.
So what happens when internet trolls start messing with the Wikipedia entry? It backfired the campaign.
Hours after the ad was released, the Wikipedia entry was altered to include “rat meat”, “toenail clippings” and “cyanide”, among others, into the Whopper ingredients.
At one point, Google Home described the Whopper as “the worst hamburger product” sold by Burger King.
It’s a fine example of the Internet of Things (IoT) at home gone wrong.