Burger King had a great idea for a commercial. You can’t give much information out in fifteen seconds, so they would use Google Home to make their commercial a little longer. At the end of this commercial, the narrator says, “Okay Google, what is the Whopper burger?”
For those of you who don’t know, when you ask Google Home a question, it will default to reading the Wikipedia entry. In this case, it will read straight from the Wikipedia page for the Whopper.
Of course, Wikipedia is editable by anyone with an internet connection, which means that as soon as the ad was released, Wiki-savvy users immediately saw the possibilities.
But wait. The fun is only just beginning. Before the ad was released, someone had already changed the Wikipedia entry to something a little less encyclopedic and a little more copy friendly. Take a gander at the original here:
“The Whopper sandwich is the signature hamburger product sold by the international fast-food restaurant chain Burger King and its Australian franchise Hungry Jack’s.”
And compare it to the updated entry which read as follows.
“The Whopper, also known as America’s favorite burger, has a flame-grilled patty made with 100% beef with no preservatives, no fillers and is topped with daily sliced tomatoes and onions, fresh lettuce, pickles, ketchup and mayo, served on a soft sesame seed bun.”
According to Wikipedia‘s changelog, which can be seen at this link (Whopper Changelog), the change was made by someone with the username Fermachado123. Coincidentally (or not), a marketing executive for Burger King named Fernando Machado uses this exact same handle on Instagram and one very similar to it on Twitter.
The Internet Responds
Once people noticed this, the gloves came off. New edits were added, with some mischievious folks editing the entry for bad, and more community minded folk attempting to keep it copy neutral. There were so many changes that Wikipedia did something that it rarely does; they locked the entry so that only trusted users could edit it.
Some of the more colorful copy included the following changes including altering the ingredients of the burger:
“The Whopper is a burger, consisting of a flame-grilled patty made with 100% medium-sized child with no preservatives or fillers…”
to altering the toppings,
“… topped with sliced tomatoes, onions, lettuce, cyanide, pickles, ketchup, and mayonnaise…”
or trying to clarify about the burger’s ingredients again,
“The Whopper is a burger, consisting of a flame-grilled cow made with 10% beef with no preservatives or fillers”
to editing the entry to an entirely different type of whopper entirely.
“Whoppers are malted milk balls covered with artificial “chocolatey coating” produced by The Hershey Company.”
In the end saner heads prevailed and the copy was reverted back to what it was before all of the changes.
Google Puts in Their Two Cents
Google isn’t above using Google Home for advertising. They did so with Beauty and the Beast, when Google Home was playing audio ads for the opening of the Disney movie. It’s a smart move for Google to monetize the home personal assistant, especially with as much market penetration as Google Home has. However, in this case, Burger King did so without the okay from the folks at Mountain View.
— brysonmeunier (@brysonmeunier) March 16, 2017
In response to this, Google fidgeted with the code for Google Assistant and it will no longer respond to queries from the commercial. Not to worry, Android phones with Google Assistant and Google Home will still respond to normal user queries. It is just the voice in the ad that the devices no longer listen to.
As of now, the kerfluffle about the Burger King ad is sure to have ad executives around the world talking. Because even if nothing else was accomplished, Burger King got people talking about their signature sandwich, the Whopper.
[Featured Image by AzriSuratmin/Shutterstock]