Burger King debuts Whopper ad that triggers Google Home devices

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One month after Google Home users were subjected to an ad for Beauty and the Beast, Google's smart speaker is once again the target of some advertising.

Burger King released a new ad on Wednesday that intentionally sets off Google Home assistants. 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.

"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", the TV commercial says. 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. In a statement to Buzzfeed, Burger King President, José Cil, said the company saw Google Home "as a technology to essentially punch through that fourth wall".

The idea that anyone can edit the text of a web page that will then be piped into thousands of homes also raises some interesting possibilities.

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Fast-food chain Burger King said on Wednesday it will start televising a commercial for its signature Whopper sandwich that is created to activate Google voice-controlled devices, raising questions about whether marketing tactics have become too invasive. The ad airs live Wednesday night on MTV, Bravo, and late-night shows starring Jimmy Kimmel and Jimmy Fallon. And anyway, Google didn't consider this an ad.

"The above reads as obvious ad-copy", a note in the page's edit discussions section reads in reference to Burger King's proposed changes. However, lots of Google Home owners probably wouldn't take kindly to their device being hijacked by BK, which is likely why Google killed it. Burger King still got some press for its ad, though, so it's probably not too heartbroken about it no longer working as intended.

Burger King did not immediately respond to a question asking whether the company had any concerns about angering consumers. The line was first added by someone with the username "Fermachado123", which appears to be the username of Burger King's marketing chief, Fernando Machado.

It raises the grim prospect of more marketers taking advantage of the growing number of voice activated devices in people's homes.