Google blocks invasive Burger King ad from taking over Google Home

The ad, which suggests that because the Whopper is just such an awesome menu item it can't be fully described in such a short ad slot, ends with a Burger King restaurant employee saying "Ok Google, what is the Whopper burger?"

This phrase is meant to get Google Home to read off the first sentence of the Whopper's entry on Wikipedia.

A vehicle leaves a Burger King restaurant on July 27, 2015 in San Rafael, California. The ad features a guy in a Burger King uniform who explains, "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". So, they've made a decision to have your Google Home, or other Google device do most of the work and advertise for them.

The good news for Google Home owners is that it looks like Google has disabled the phrase "Ok Google, what is the Whopper burger?" from this ad.

We've reached out to Google for confirmation of the action, which was likely just a quick fix on the server side created to block a specific waveform, perhaps leveraging similar functionality to block out its own ads. Earlier in 2017, a San Diego station's story about a six-year-old girl who bought a dollhouse with Amazon's Echo speaker, a competing home assistant, set off Echo devices when the command was repeated on air. Burger King seems to have the advantage of being the first company to try something like this - it isn't hard to imagine that subsequent attempts at controlling a smart device through advertising will be met with outright disdain. And a Super Bowl ad for Google Home mistakenly activated the always-listening device. On Wednesday, pranksters amended the Whopper's list of ingredients to include "100 percent rat", "toenail clippings" and less publishable foodstuff. In February, Google Home users complained about hearing an audio promotion for Disney's Beauty and the Beast movie as part of My Day, a collation of weather forecasts, commute updates, calendar appointments, and news.

Google said that it wasn't an ad, but a trial of a new function that highlights things that users might be interested in.

Carroll said if brands start using voice assistants as vehicles for advertising, people might stop using them. "Are people going to unplug the device when they watch TV?" If you want to cut to the chase and just see how this ad works, hit the source link below for a video of the ad in action.

  • Joey Payne