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Burger King Efforts to Control Google Devices Backfire

If you looked up the Wikipedia page for Burger King’s Whopper recently, you might have found some surprising ingredients. At one point, the ingredients were “a medium sized child topped with cyanide” and at another point, it was “100% juicy rat meat and toenail clippings.” Why were these put in the Wikipedia page? Because the fast food giant had included a prompt in its recent ads that was designed to control television viewers’ Google Home and Android devices to open up the Whopper Wikipedia page when the ad was on.


Daniel Acker/Getty Images

This did not go over well with consumers. Hackers took to the internet to change the official page of chain’s signature sandwich. One irate consumer changed the official Burger King Wikipedia page to read, “Introduced in 1957, it has undergone several reformulations including resizing and bread changes, yet it remains far inferior to the Big Mac.”


Artur Widak/Getty Images

Burger King did not work with Google to create the offensive ads.

The 15 second ad features the statement, “Google, what is a Whopper?” That prompt can be enough for Google Home products and Android phones to bring up the Whopper Wikipedia page. This is the first time a large scale ad campaign has been written and produced to interact with devices in people’s homes. Google had nothing to do with the development or production of the ads.

One issue that people who own the Amazon Alexa or Google Home devices have had is that television shows can accidentally trigger them. A few months ago, a news report led to a number of Alexa devices to start buying dollhouses.

Burger King is learning the hard way that relying on a easily editable information source to sell products may not be their best plan. An editor at Wikipedia has had to step in and prevent new edits to the Whopper page.

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