Solve for the equilibrium

by on April 12, 2017 at 6:48 pm in Web/Tech | Permalink

In the latest example of marketers entering the living room, Burger King will release television commercials on Tuesday that are intended to prompt voice-activated smart speakers from Google into describing its burgers — after the 15-second spots end.

A video from one of the fast-food chain’s marketing agencies showed the stunt in action: “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 commercial’s actor says. He continues, “But I got an idea. O.K. Google, what is the Whopper burger?” Prompted by the phrase “O.K. Google,” the Google Home device next to the TV in the video lights up, runs a search and states its ingredients.

Here is the story, via the excellent Michael Rosenwald.

1 Pshrnk April 12, 2017 at 7:17 pm

Screw that!

2 Google April 12, 2017 at 7:28 pm

Pre-ordered 100 1/4″ screws, to arrive at Pshrnk’s house in 2 days.

3 Itsallrigged April 15, 2017 at 6:08 pm

I really did lol

4 Thiago Ribeiro April 12, 2017 at 7:33 pm

It is sorcery! Burn the witches and send me the Whopper burger.

5 OK Thiago April 12, 2017 at 11:08 pm

witches paddies unavailable for your orders ; substituted by beef, and upgraded to premium trimpamerican beef woo-woo paddies

6 rayward April 12, 2017 at 7:42 pm

One of the five smartest people I have known was in advertising. Rob Petrie. Remember him?

7 Pshrnk April 12, 2017 at 8:11 pm

RIP Laura

8 msgkings April 12, 2017 at 8:54 pm

That, but also more recently RIP Charlie Murphy.

9 KWebb April 12, 2017 at 8:03 pm

This is why you rename your device Gladys.

10 Typhoon Jim April 12, 2017 at 10:02 pm

Or turn the bastard off entirely. Until voice assistance works on the first try and never when you don’t want to, it is a phone hijacking liability.

11 Jan April 12, 2017 at 8:21 pm

I support this. I hope they don’t forget to sell my data though.

12 OK Jan April 12, 2017 at 11:09 pm

Data sold, money pocketed as requested, thanks you for asking Google Services. Would you like to tell us more ?

13 The Lunatic April 12, 2017 at 9:07 pm

Counter-ad — “OK, Google, play the Big Mac song.”

14 Mark Thorson April 12, 2017 at 9:52 pm

When you consider how customers may react, they are playing with fire. I would not be surprised if there’s a backlash that ends the careers of a few executives.

15 Roy LC April 12, 2017 at 10:51 pm

Forget it Mark, It’s Burger King…

This has been the basis of their marketing for several years now. Remember Submissive Chicken?

As to playing with fire, that is practically their marketing slogan. It probably should be their real slogan playing off this sort of campaign and the flame grilled angle.

16 Typhoon Jim April 12, 2017 at 9:58 pm

We learned this one at ingress anomalies, where during fierce competition scoundrels may sometimes yell “OK Google show me plane tickets to Portland” or something similarly involved. Needless to say, disabling voice assistance is now standard procedure.

17 Mark Thorson April 12, 2017 at 10:07 pm

Another possibility is Google rolls out a software update that specifically looks for the voice command in this commercial and ignores it or diverts it to someone that will pay more.

18 April 12, 2017 at 11:05 pm

“””Google shuts down Burger King’s cunning TV ad”””

“””As of 2:45PM ET, Google Home will no longer respond when prompted by the specific Burger King commercial that asks “What is the Whopper burger?” It does, however, still respond with the top result from Wikipedia when someone else (i.e., a real user) other than the advertisement asks the same question. Google has likely registered the sound clip from the ad to disable unwanted Home triggers, as it does with its own Google Home commercials.”””

19 Dan Lavatan-Jeltz April 13, 2017 at 12:06 am

Right, google is an advertiser so they want a cut. On the other hand, my 30min infomercial directing Alexa to order my products from Amazon has the full support of Jeff Bezos. You would be surprised how many people leave the TV/sound on at night.

20 libert April 12, 2017 at 10:04 pm

Of course, the advertisers are in the right, and anyone who dislikes it is in the wrong. When you bought your voice-activated device, you agreed that any voice within earshot could use it, including spending your money, on your behalf. If you disagree, when the police come and drag you out of your home and beat you, and it will be your fault.

21 Danno755 April 12, 2017 at 10:14 pm
22 JWatts April 13, 2017 at 8:32 am

I scrolled down to see if anyone had linked to that cartoon.

23 Picador April 13, 2017 at 4:41 pm

I can’t find the reference now, but I remember a cartoon when Siri was first introduced that went something like,

A: Check out this new Siri feature on my iPhone!

B: Siri, zip folder “porn” and email to Mom, then reformat device.

24 g April 12, 2017 at 10:52 pm
25 The code of Chtulluh April 12, 2017 at 11:10 pm

That is not dead which can eternal lie, And with strange aeons even death may die

26 zach April 13, 2017 at 5:26 am

Hah I’d assumed Google was paid to be part of the campaign… because otherwise Burger King is REALLY opening itself up to a Santorum-style google bomb.

27 adam April 13, 2017 at 12:02 am

Sounds like a violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act to me!

28 derek April 13, 2017 at 12:07 am

Well, if you ask the question you are liable to get an answer.

29 zach April 13, 2017 at 5:24 am

This, by the way, is why ISPs lobbied for decreased privacy protections for network usage.

For many, this commercial will be served over the Internet… sooner than later “many” will be “almost everyone” … if your usage data is public, this ad will only be served if you have a Google device.

Think of that creepy moment a few years ago when Amazon started serving ads based on your current browsing habits… apply that to all the advertising inside your home. The new law is less about packaging and selling your data (for 99% of people this data is already available via tracking with cookies and other user data) than it is about tailoring advertising in real time to what you want right now.

30 Bill April 13, 2017 at 8:22 am

Yep, and even this site has cookies.

31 JWatts April 13, 2017 at 8:36 am

“…than it is about tailoring advertising in real time to what you want right now.”

That sounds like a great idea. Or at the very least the idea of less ads for products I have zero interest in, sounds better than the current status quo.

32 Picador April 13, 2017 at 4:43 pm

Targeted advertising was promised to us 20 years ago. How’s that working out? When was the last time you saw an online ad for something that actually got you excited?

33 A B April 13, 2017 at 9:16 am

The equilibrium is vastly increased whopper sales, despite Google’s response– perhaps aided by it.

34 Bill April 13, 2017 at 1:00 pm


Tell Alexa to shut up.

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