Fast food giant Burger King thought it was being funny when it aired a 15 second commercial that purposely triggered viewers Google Home devices- but many didn’t see the funny side of the privacy intrusion.
The short advert aired on US TV last week on networks including Comedy Central, MTV and Bravo.
The commercial ended with the actor triggering people’s Google Home devices, asking it to read out the ingredients from publicly-editable Wikipedia.
The fast-food company’s new TV ad features a person looking directly into the camera and saying “OK Google, what is the Whopper burger?” — which, if everything goes as planned, will trigger Google devices like the Google Home assistant and Android phones that have enabled voice search.
In a demo, the ad prompts a Google Home voice-activated speaker to start reading a description of the Whopper from Wikipedia.
While Google Home is still less popular than Amazon’s Echo, the ad “could trigger” other Android devices like smartphones to search for “Whopper,” Burger King President José Cil said in an interview with BuzzFeed News.
Annoyed at the intrusion, some people got creative with the editing.
The Wikipedia website can be edited by users, and the definition had been changed to insert “cyanide” as an ingredient in one version.
Another user later changed the definition to say the Whopper is “the worst hamburger product” sold by the chain.
Burger King, owned by Restaurant Brands International, says it is not behind the negative edits and that it has been trying to change the definition back to one that it was hoping to promote.
Just a few hours after it was revealed, the Burger King TV ad can no longer successfully hijack Google’s voice-activated devices.
It’s unclear if Google has disabled the specific audio from the ad from being recognized by its devices — neither Burger King nor Google immediately responded to requests for comment.