Fast-food chain Burger King came up with an innovative TV ad to advertise one of its popular fast food items. But the idea irked Google so much that it decided to shut down the commercial.
It all began after Burger King, on Wednesday, released a TV ad for its signature Whopper burger. The 15-second ad features a Burger King employee holding up a Whopper burger and saying, "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. But I've got an idea. OK, Google, what is the Whopper burger?"
The ad ends there. However, if a viewer has Android phones or Google Home with voice search enabled within listening range of the TV, the last phrase would trigger the Google Assistant on such devices to search for Whopper on Google and read out a description of the hamburger's ingredients from a Wikipedia page.
While Burger King said that it "saw an opportunity to do something exciting with the emerging technology of intelligent personal assistant devices," it did not bode well for Google. Within three hours after the commercial was unveiled, the search giant issued a server-side update to disable Burger King's recording.
So the "OK Google" hot word at the end of the ad will still activate a Google Home device, but it will remain quiet, without any response to the query about Whopper's ingredients. However, if a live person asks the same question, Google Home will respond as usual.
Here's a video that shows how Burger King hijacked Google Assistant:
While it is obvious that Google disabled the ad recording because it didn't like a third-party using its voice command system to promote its brand, there were also a few unwanted risk factors that Google would like to avoid.
After the Burger King ad was released, many internet users took to Wikipedia to edit the entry for the Whopper, with some edits claiming that it was a "cancer-causing," "a chocolate candy" with ingredients like "toenail clippings" and "rat." Some users even reportedly managed to get the Google Assistant to recite some of the false edits for a brief period of time.
The Wikipedia page for Whopper has now been locked to ensure that only authorised administrators can make changes to its content.
Meanwhile, the cunning Whopper ad will run in the US during prime-time on networks including Spike, Comedy Central, MTV, E! and Bravo. It will also be televised on late-night shows starring Jimmy Kimmel and Jimmy Fallon.