Burger King ad ‘speaks’ to viewers’ Google Assistant-powered smart speaker.
The jury is still out on consumer perceptions surrounding in-home AI devices. While some estimates put Amazon’s Echo sales around 8 million US units so far, there are currently no solid numbers around the competing Google Home device. Some users love the handy little assistant, while others decry the privacy concerns behind putting an “always listening and quite possibly recording you” microphone in your home.
But things took a little lean towards the paranoid recently, when Burger King rolled out its innovative new ad. The ad, which features an actor in full employee regalia clutching a Whopper, interacts with Google Home devices whether you want it to or not. In the ad, the employee claims he can’t possibly explain all the great stuff inside a Whopper in the short amount of time he has, so he says, “Ok Google,” waking consumers’ devices, before commanding it to rattle off the Whopper’s components.
There have been several other notable instances of “accidental” activation of these types of AI devices. Amazon’s holiday ad campaign featured people using their Echo devices, and some consumers reported that the “wake word” in the ad activated their units. Another widespread story involved a news reporter who accidentally caused Amazon units to attempt to order products while he was relaying the news of how the unit operates.
However, this marks the first time an ad agency actually sat around a conference table and thought this intentional activation of users’ devices would be a good idea. Essentially, every time the ad airs, your Google Home device will hear its wake word and respond accordingly to the command the ad gives it. Needless to say, there are quite a few customers who are angrily rethinking their purchases.
There’s another odd characteristic at play here, which is the number of Google Home users in question. Burger King, with or without Google approval and input, obviously has reason to believe that enough units have been sold to warrant the ad. It’s pretty embarrassing to try to wake up an AI device if the listener doesn’t have one, so they must be pretty confident in the figures before launching this campaign.