It was probably inevitable from the day that tech companies started coming out with voice-activated, wifi-enabled speakers, such as Google Home and Amazon Echo: A company has released an ad triggering one of the devices.
That company happens to be Burger King, which on Wednesday released a 15-second ad in which an actor, dressed in a Burger King uniform, holding a Whopper triggers Google Home to explain a Whopper.
“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 ad says. “But I’ve got an idea.”
The camera then zooms into the actor, who says, “OK, Google, what is the Whopper burger?”
The ad then ends.
The ads can also Google on other devices — though, for a Google app on the iPhone, for instance, you have to press the speaker button.
Google then explains what a Whopper is, using the sandwich’s entry on Wikipedia.
At times, however, the ad runs into problems with Wikipedia’s open editing environment. Business Insider, for instance, noted that at one point someone had edited the page to say the burger is made of a “medium-sized child,” rather than a beef patty, and that it contained the chemical Cyanide.
Regardless, the ad demonstrates the lengths companies are increasingly going to get the attention of the American public. Restaurants, operating in an intensely competitive environment, are eagerly looking for new ways to distinguish themselves.
Burger King is an especially aggressive company when it comes to marketing — once pricing its 10-piece chicken nuggets at $1.49, or combining Cheetos and macaroni and cheese in stick form.
Yet it has also raised questions about the use of advertising to trigger devices like Google Home or Amazon’s Echo. Consumers typically leave these devices on, meaning they could be triggered at any time with the correct words.
Using one device, a television, to trigger another device, a voice-activated speaker, could be viewed as too invasive — especially among people watching the program who are not Burger King customers.
Still, according to Bloomberg, Burger King President Jose Cil called it “a cool way, and a bold way, to surprise our guests.”
Contact Jonathan Maze at [email protected]
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