A Burger King ad that broke the fourth wall and activated Google devices has been shut down by Google.
The conceit of the 15-second Whopper ad was that there isn’t enough time to explain all the ingredients in the burger. So the actor asks, “OK Google. What is the Whopper burger?” — which then activates a Google Home or an Android device to answer by pulling up the top result from Wikipedia.
According to the Verge, the Google Assistant stopped responding to the question just a few hours after the ad launched. It’ll still answer if somebody in person asks the same question, but the ad no longer works as intended.
The tech giant most likely updated their software to not respond to the sound clip, in the same way that Google Home commercials won’t activate your devices. Google was not consulted on the ad, according to a New York Times report.
When I asked my Google Assistant the question, all I got were a bunch of news articles about this ad. So, as it appears, the marketing ploy doesn’t work anymore at all.
It was a clever trick on Burger King’s part, but it does raise some questions about the personalization and privacy of these smart devices. For example, users can attach accounts to the Google Home or Alexa for easy access, but that means they’re potentially accessible for anybody else in the room who can activate it.
The Verge reported that Google Home will be adding voice tags soon that will solve this problem.
In the meantime, mute your devices when you’re not using them. They’re fun but they hear everything.