PR fail or social media win? Have it your way.
In what seemed like the fast food equivalent of U2 forcing their album onto your phone, Burger King has attempted to flaunt its tech-forwardness by making a commercial that can hijack your Google Home devices.
Viewers discovered that by asking "OK Google, what is the Whopper burger?", the earnest Millennial in the commercial triggers Google Home speakers, which then prompt the system to search Whopper ingredients, generating results from Wikipedia's "Whopper" page—all from the comfort of your own home. It's like having an ad guy right there in your living room!
Creepy, right? Well, yeah. But, the story doesn't end there.
Sure, there were the inevitable accusations of spying in the comments section of YouTube, but there was a silver lining for Burger King. The only question is how calculated (or calculating) the ad was.
In light of the brand's other recent marketing campaigns—like their weird adult fun pack complete with beer and erotic play toys, potential cheating boyfriend fake-out, and sweaty burger saunas—this non-consensual Google search good easily have been seen as another bizarre experiment.
But in one respect, the ad was so effective that it forced Google to intervene and block the subversive prompt. And despite less than half-a-million Americans owning Google Home devices, the now-infamous ad has been seen more than 3 million times on YouTube alone, not to mention reams of tech writing on the topic. Not bad for an ad that looks like the most expensive part was the unrealistically large Whopper sandwich (sorry, creepy Millennial actor).
Whether it was intentional or not, Burger King may have pulled off what some are calling "the biggest publicity stunt of the year."
The Verge called the ad "cunning," adding that "If the aim of David, the creative agency in Miami that made the Burger King Google Home TV spot, was to create a short, sharp, viral commercial that would generate a digital media storm and the attention of the most valuable demographic advertising, then it deserves every Lion in Cannes."
Even if that wasn't their aim, Burger King still got a MUNCHIES article out of it. So good for them.