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Burger King ads boost consumer buzz

Burger King ads boost consumer buzz

Burger King’s celebrity-driven commercials for new menu items recently broke through with several key demographics, according to new consumer research from YouGov BrandIndex.

Starting in May, when new ads starring soccer star David Beckham and Aerosmith front man Steven Tyler began running, Burger King experienced a lift among men and women in its “buzz score,” which BrandIndex uses to measure word-of-mouth traction every day, said Ted Marzilli, senior vice president of the consumer perception research firm.

“You want everybody you can get coming into your stores, and the best way of attracting all these different groups is through different media or different celebrities,” Marzilli said. “Here, Burger King seems to be targeting its top three or four groups and investing the money to get them. The approach makes sense, and the data suggest it’s making an impact.”

New York-based BrandIndex calculates the buzz score for hundreds of brands by surveying more than 5,000 adult consumers each weekday. Respondents are asked, “If you’ve heard anything about the brand in the last two weeks, through advertising, news or word-of-mouth, was it positive or negative?” Negative responses are subtracted from positive ones, and a moving average is calculated ranging from negative 100 to positive 100, with a rating of zero denoting completely neutral perceptions for a brand.

At the beginning of May, female survey respondents had a more positive perception of Burger King, based on the brand’s buzz score with that demographic of 64, compared with an average buzz score among all consumers for all quick-service brands of 57. Male consumers yielded an average buzz score of only 34 for Burger King at that time.

However, BrandIndex noted, Burger King’s scores among men climbed throughout the first half of May as the brand’s commercial with Tyler aired, reaching a peak of 60 on May 16. Men’s buzz score for Burger King ended June 8 at 50 — still below the overall average buzz score for all quick-service chains at 61 but well above its starting point from May 1.

Right about the time the men’s buzz score hit its peak in mid-May, buzz scores for Burger King among female consumer respondents began climbing, hitting an apex of 76 on May 29, BrandIndex found. Those results seemed to track with the debut of Burger King’s second commercial with Beckham, in which one of Burger King’s new smoothies gets spilled on his shirt and female customers and employees implore him to take his shirt off.

Burger King’s buzz score among women ended June 8 at 69, eight points above the industry average for all consumers.

Marzilli noted that while it can be an expensive, high-risk-high-reward tactic for a restaurant to use celebrity endorsers, Burger King’s approach with Beckham, Tyler, and others like Salma Hayek and Jay Leno, appears to be working.

“It’s not inexpensive to get talent like that, but it’s like portfolio theory, where different folks will appeal to different consumer segments,” he said. “It makes sense to target specific customer groups with niche content or celebrities and is better than a one-size-fits-all strategy. … If you’re going to spend the money, you might as well target everybody you can.”

Marzilli added that sustaining this kind of a pop in buzz scores would be difficult for Burger King because refreshing the campaign could be very expensive. He also noted that Burger King’s largest rival, McDonald’s, spends far more in advertising — something incoming McDonald’s chief executive Don Thompson acknowledged when told investors the chain “looked forward to taking competitors’ business when they pulled back from promotions.”

“It’s very hard to win that battle on a consistent basis,” Marzilli said. “The best Burger King can do is to pick its battles and try a few different things to get pick-up for free in social media and the press and fight guerilla warfare with a guy like McDonald’s. Also, it’s one thing to raise buzz and drive people into the stores to give Burger King another chance, but the real key is execution.”

For its March 31-ended first quarter, Burger King Holdings Inc. reported its strongest gain in same-store sales in two years, with a 4.2-percent increase in the United States and Canada.

Miami-based Burger King operates or franchises 12,534 restaurants worldwide.

Contact Mark Brandau at [email protected]
Follow him on Twitter: @Mark_from_NRN


Burger King launches TV ad that triggers Google Home: clever marketing trick or invasive ploy?

The new ad has raised concerns about privacy and security in a world of 'always listening' smart devices.

On Wednesday, a Burger King television ad likely became the first ever to intentionally trigger smart devices like Google Home and Android phones. In the commercial, an actor faces the camera and clearly enunciates the phrase, "Okay, Google. What is the Whopper burger?" at the end of the advertisement.

Around the country, the audio clip prompted a response on a number of devices, with phones and smart speakers listing off the ingredients in the burger from the Whopper's information page on Wikipedia.

The new ad, however, was not well received by all. Some saw the triggering of their devices by the ad as a nuisance, while others found the commercial to be an uncomfortable reminder of the intrusion of advertising in a world peppered with "always-listening" smart devices. Google, which had not consulted with Burger King for the commercial, disabled the Google Home's ability to be awakened by the advertisement within a day of its first airing.

The response to the new ad highlights many of the concerns associated with privacy and security concerns in an increasingly digital world. But while this might be the first ad to target users who already own a Google Home or other listening smart device, privacy-invading strategies companies use to target customers are nothing new, says Saleem Alhabash, a professor of Public Relations and Social Media at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Mich.

"Behavioral targeting has been applied for quite some time now," Dr. Alhabash tells The Christian Science Monitor in an email. "Advertisers, including Google, have been recording our digital traces and through algorithmic manipulation, providing us with tailored ads that are more meaningful to us."

Critical race theory: Who gets to decide what is history?

The new Burger King ad is simply an extension of this general philosophy, he says. But while being on the cutting edge of new types of advertising like this can pay big dividends, it can also be risky. After all, consumer backlash can be hard to predict, especially with a new type of commercial like this.

"Across different generational groups, consumers are well aware of the dangers and threats to their own security and privacy online. They know what the deal is," Alhabash adds. "In a lot of instances, they feel that protecting their privacy online is such a behemoth that they end up feeling defeated and give in to the idea of them not being able to protect their privacy. However, when an ad like the Burger King one floats to the surface, consumers are reminded of how vulnerable they are."

That, he says, is part of the reason this ad has struck such a dissonant chord with many viewers. But that wasn't the only way the ad backfired.

As the new commercial first began to air, many viewers realized that the information read out by Google Homes and Android devices came directly from Wikipedia, which can be edited by anyone. Soon, the description of the Whopper on the Wikipedia page was altered to contain a list of fictitious and disgusting ingredients, with one edit identifying the Whopper as "the worst hamburger product" sold by the fast food chain. Burger King quickly took steps to restore a more palatable-sounding Wikipedia entry, but before long it had encountered another problem: Google.

"Google has not been consulted on this, therefore, it is not getting any of the advertising dollars spent on this ad," says Alhabash. "Google wants a piece of the pie."

The tech giant found itself in the position of having its own products activated in an ad that many disliked, without any compensation. Before long, users reported that the new commercial no longer activated their Google Homes, and Burger King informed The New York Times that Google had made alterations that specifically prevented the ad's audio waking up the devices, thereby weakening the effectiveness of the new campaign.

The deactivation by Google comes only a few weeks after the tech giant found itself in a similar position to Burger King when some Google Home users reacted negatively to what seemed to be a promotion for Disney's recent live-action Beauty and the Beast film tucked in between the weather and the news. The promotion, which played on a few devices on the day of the film's release, "wasn't intended to be an ad," according to a Google spokesperson.

But despite the fair amount of negative feedback for this kind of invasive advertising, the new Burger King ad – as well as any copycat commercials that crop up – may yet be a success, says Jenny Olson, a professor of marketing at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kan.

"From a marketing standpoint, Burger King achieved their objective of capturing consumers' attention in an increasingly saturated mediascape," Dr. Olson tells the Monitor via email. "Honestly, when I first heard about the ad (despite potential privacy concerns), my reaction was 'Wow, that's pretty clever!' This sort of advertising is something we’re going to be seeing more of as AI devices become more common in our homes."

The purpose of advertising, after all, is to generate buzz – not just about the product, but also about the commercial itself – and in that regard, the invasive ad has been immensely successful, Olson says.

Get the Monitor Stories you care about delivered to your inbox.

"Burger King certainly took a risk in going this route. [And] even if the ad doesn't translate into increased sales of Whoppers, it's started an important conversation about privacy and ethics of advertising on these new platforms," she says.


Burger King launches TV ad that triggers Google Home: clever marketing trick or invasive ploy?

The new ad has raised concerns about privacy and security in a world of 'always listening' smart devices.

On Wednesday, a Burger King television ad likely became the first ever to intentionally trigger smart devices like Google Home and Android phones. In the commercial, an actor faces the camera and clearly enunciates the phrase, "Okay, Google. What is the Whopper burger?" at the end of the advertisement.

Around the country, the audio clip prompted a response on a number of devices, with phones and smart speakers listing off the ingredients in the burger from the Whopper's information page on Wikipedia.

The new ad, however, was not well received by all. Some saw the triggering of their devices by the ad as a nuisance, while others found the commercial to be an uncomfortable reminder of the intrusion of advertising in a world peppered with "always-listening" smart devices. Google, which had not consulted with Burger King for the commercial, disabled the Google Home's ability to be awakened by the advertisement within a day of its first airing.

The response to the new ad highlights many of the concerns associated with privacy and security concerns in an increasingly digital world. But while this might be the first ad to target users who already own a Google Home or other listening smart device, privacy-invading strategies companies use to target customers are nothing new, says Saleem Alhabash, a professor of Public Relations and Social Media at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Mich.

"Behavioral targeting has been applied for quite some time now," Dr. Alhabash tells The Christian Science Monitor in an email. "Advertisers, including Google, have been recording our digital traces and through algorithmic manipulation, providing us with tailored ads that are more meaningful to us."

Critical race theory: Who gets to decide what is history?

The new Burger King ad is simply an extension of this general philosophy, he says. But while being on the cutting edge of new types of advertising like this can pay big dividends, it can also be risky. After all, consumer backlash can be hard to predict, especially with a new type of commercial like this.

"Across different generational groups, consumers are well aware of the dangers and threats to their own security and privacy online. They know what the deal is," Alhabash adds. "In a lot of instances, they feel that protecting their privacy online is such a behemoth that they end up feeling defeated and give in to the idea of them not being able to protect their privacy. However, when an ad like the Burger King one floats to the surface, consumers are reminded of how vulnerable they are."

That, he says, is part of the reason this ad has struck such a dissonant chord with many viewers. But that wasn't the only way the ad backfired.

As the new commercial first began to air, many viewers realized that the information read out by Google Homes and Android devices came directly from Wikipedia, which can be edited by anyone. Soon, the description of the Whopper on the Wikipedia page was altered to contain a list of fictitious and disgusting ingredients, with one edit identifying the Whopper as "the worst hamburger product" sold by the fast food chain. Burger King quickly took steps to restore a more palatable-sounding Wikipedia entry, but before long it had encountered another problem: Google.

"Google has not been consulted on this, therefore, it is not getting any of the advertising dollars spent on this ad," says Alhabash. "Google wants a piece of the pie."

The tech giant found itself in the position of having its own products activated in an ad that many disliked, without any compensation. Before long, users reported that the new commercial no longer activated their Google Homes, and Burger King informed The New York Times that Google had made alterations that specifically prevented the ad's audio waking up the devices, thereby weakening the effectiveness of the new campaign.

The deactivation by Google comes only a few weeks after the tech giant found itself in a similar position to Burger King when some Google Home users reacted negatively to what seemed to be a promotion for Disney's recent live-action Beauty and the Beast film tucked in between the weather and the news. The promotion, which played on a few devices on the day of the film's release, "wasn't intended to be an ad," according to a Google spokesperson.

But despite the fair amount of negative feedback for this kind of invasive advertising, the new Burger King ad – as well as any copycat commercials that crop up – may yet be a success, says Jenny Olson, a professor of marketing at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kan.

"From a marketing standpoint, Burger King achieved their objective of capturing consumers' attention in an increasingly saturated mediascape," Dr. Olson tells the Monitor via email. "Honestly, when I first heard about the ad (despite potential privacy concerns), my reaction was 'Wow, that's pretty clever!' This sort of advertising is something we’re going to be seeing more of as AI devices become more common in our homes."

The purpose of advertising, after all, is to generate buzz – not just about the product, but also about the commercial itself – and in that regard, the invasive ad has been immensely successful, Olson says.

Get the Monitor Stories you care about delivered to your inbox.

"Burger King certainly took a risk in going this route. [And] even if the ad doesn't translate into increased sales of Whoppers, it's started an important conversation about privacy and ethics of advertising on these new platforms," she says.


Burger King launches TV ad that triggers Google Home: clever marketing trick or invasive ploy?

The new ad has raised concerns about privacy and security in a world of 'always listening' smart devices.

On Wednesday, a Burger King television ad likely became the first ever to intentionally trigger smart devices like Google Home and Android phones. In the commercial, an actor faces the camera and clearly enunciates the phrase, "Okay, Google. What is the Whopper burger?" at the end of the advertisement.

Around the country, the audio clip prompted a response on a number of devices, with phones and smart speakers listing off the ingredients in the burger from the Whopper's information page on Wikipedia.

The new ad, however, was not well received by all. Some saw the triggering of their devices by the ad as a nuisance, while others found the commercial to be an uncomfortable reminder of the intrusion of advertising in a world peppered with "always-listening" smart devices. Google, which had not consulted with Burger King for the commercial, disabled the Google Home's ability to be awakened by the advertisement within a day of its first airing.

The response to the new ad highlights many of the concerns associated with privacy and security concerns in an increasingly digital world. But while this might be the first ad to target users who already own a Google Home or other listening smart device, privacy-invading strategies companies use to target customers are nothing new, says Saleem Alhabash, a professor of Public Relations and Social Media at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Mich.

"Behavioral targeting has been applied for quite some time now," Dr. Alhabash tells The Christian Science Monitor in an email. "Advertisers, including Google, have been recording our digital traces and through algorithmic manipulation, providing us with tailored ads that are more meaningful to us."

Critical race theory: Who gets to decide what is history?

The new Burger King ad is simply an extension of this general philosophy, he says. But while being on the cutting edge of new types of advertising like this can pay big dividends, it can also be risky. After all, consumer backlash can be hard to predict, especially with a new type of commercial like this.

"Across different generational groups, consumers are well aware of the dangers and threats to their own security and privacy online. They know what the deal is," Alhabash adds. "In a lot of instances, they feel that protecting their privacy online is such a behemoth that they end up feeling defeated and give in to the idea of them not being able to protect their privacy. However, when an ad like the Burger King one floats to the surface, consumers are reminded of how vulnerable they are."

That, he says, is part of the reason this ad has struck such a dissonant chord with many viewers. But that wasn't the only way the ad backfired.

As the new commercial first began to air, many viewers realized that the information read out by Google Homes and Android devices came directly from Wikipedia, which can be edited by anyone. Soon, the description of the Whopper on the Wikipedia page was altered to contain a list of fictitious and disgusting ingredients, with one edit identifying the Whopper as "the worst hamburger product" sold by the fast food chain. Burger King quickly took steps to restore a more palatable-sounding Wikipedia entry, but before long it had encountered another problem: Google.

"Google has not been consulted on this, therefore, it is not getting any of the advertising dollars spent on this ad," says Alhabash. "Google wants a piece of the pie."

The tech giant found itself in the position of having its own products activated in an ad that many disliked, without any compensation. Before long, users reported that the new commercial no longer activated their Google Homes, and Burger King informed The New York Times that Google had made alterations that specifically prevented the ad's audio waking up the devices, thereby weakening the effectiveness of the new campaign.

The deactivation by Google comes only a few weeks after the tech giant found itself in a similar position to Burger King when some Google Home users reacted negatively to what seemed to be a promotion for Disney's recent live-action Beauty and the Beast film tucked in between the weather and the news. The promotion, which played on a few devices on the day of the film's release, "wasn't intended to be an ad," according to a Google spokesperson.

But despite the fair amount of negative feedback for this kind of invasive advertising, the new Burger King ad – as well as any copycat commercials that crop up – may yet be a success, says Jenny Olson, a professor of marketing at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kan.

"From a marketing standpoint, Burger King achieved their objective of capturing consumers' attention in an increasingly saturated mediascape," Dr. Olson tells the Monitor via email. "Honestly, when I first heard about the ad (despite potential privacy concerns), my reaction was 'Wow, that's pretty clever!' This sort of advertising is something we’re going to be seeing more of as AI devices become more common in our homes."

The purpose of advertising, after all, is to generate buzz – not just about the product, but also about the commercial itself – and in that regard, the invasive ad has been immensely successful, Olson says.

Get the Monitor Stories you care about delivered to your inbox.

"Burger King certainly took a risk in going this route. [And] even if the ad doesn't translate into increased sales of Whoppers, it's started an important conversation about privacy and ethics of advertising on these new platforms," she says.


Burger King launches TV ad that triggers Google Home: clever marketing trick or invasive ploy?

The new ad has raised concerns about privacy and security in a world of 'always listening' smart devices.

On Wednesday, a Burger King television ad likely became the first ever to intentionally trigger smart devices like Google Home and Android phones. In the commercial, an actor faces the camera and clearly enunciates the phrase, "Okay, Google. What is the Whopper burger?" at the end of the advertisement.

Around the country, the audio clip prompted a response on a number of devices, with phones and smart speakers listing off the ingredients in the burger from the Whopper's information page on Wikipedia.

The new ad, however, was not well received by all. Some saw the triggering of their devices by the ad as a nuisance, while others found the commercial to be an uncomfortable reminder of the intrusion of advertising in a world peppered with "always-listening" smart devices. Google, which had not consulted with Burger King for the commercial, disabled the Google Home's ability to be awakened by the advertisement within a day of its first airing.

The response to the new ad highlights many of the concerns associated with privacy and security concerns in an increasingly digital world. But while this might be the first ad to target users who already own a Google Home or other listening smart device, privacy-invading strategies companies use to target customers are nothing new, says Saleem Alhabash, a professor of Public Relations and Social Media at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Mich.

"Behavioral targeting has been applied for quite some time now," Dr. Alhabash tells The Christian Science Monitor in an email. "Advertisers, including Google, have been recording our digital traces and through algorithmic manipulation, providing us with tailored ads that are more meaningful to us."

Critical race theory: Who gets to decide what is history?

The new Burger King ad is simply an extension of this general philosophy, he says. But while being on the cutting edge of new types of advertising like this can pay big dividends, it can also be risky. After all, consumer backlash can be hard to predict, especially with a new type of commercial like this.

"Across different generational groups, consumers are well aware of the dangers and threats to their own security and privacy online. They know what the deal is," Alhabash adds. "In a lot of instances, they feel that protecting their privacy online is such a behemoth that they end up feeling defeated and give in to the idea of them not being able to protect their privacy. However, when an ad like the Burger King one floats to the surface, consumers are reminded of how vulnerable they are."

That, he says, is part of the reason this ad has struck such a dissonant chord with many viewers. But that wasn't the only way the ad backfired.

As the new commercial first began to air, many viewers realized that the information read out by Google Homes and Android devices came directly from Wikipedia, which can be edited by anyone. Soon, the description of the Whopper on the Wikipedia page was altered to contain a list of fictitious and disgusting ingredients, with one edit identifying the Whopper as "the worst hamburger product" sold by the fast food chain. Burger King quickly took steps to restore a more palatable-sounding Wikipedia entry, but before long it had encountered another problem: Google.

"Google has not been consulted on this, therefore, it is not getting any of the advertising dollars spent on this ad," says Alhabash. "Google wants a piece of the pie."

The tech giant found itself in the position of having its own products activated in an ad that many disliked, without any compensation. Before long, users reported that the new commercial no longer activated their Google Homes, and Burger King informed The New York Times that Google had made alterations that specifically prevented the ad's audio waking up the devices, thereby weakening the effectiveness of the new campaign.

The deactivation by Google comes only a few weeks after the tech giant found itself in a similar position to Burger King when some Google Home users reacted negatively to what seemed to be a promotion for Disney's recent live-action Beauty and the Beast film tucked in between the weather and the news. The promotion, which played on a few devices on the day of the film's release, "wasn't intended to be an ad," according to a Google spokesperson.

But despite the fair amount of negative feedback for this kind of invasive advertising, the new Burger King ad – as well as any copycat commercials that crop up – may yet be a success, says Jenny Olson, a professor of marketing at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kan.

"From a marketing standpoint, Burger King achieved their objective of capturing consumers' attention in an increasingly saturated mediascape," Dr. Olson tells the Monitor via email. "Honestly, when I first heard about the ad (despite potential privacy concerns), my reaction was 'Wow, that's pretty clever!' This sort of advertising is something we’re going to be seeing more of as AI devices become more common in our homes."

The purpose of advertising, after all, is to generate buzz – not just about the product, but also about the commercial itself – and in that regard, the invasive ad has been immensely successful, Olson says.

Get the Monitor Stories you care about delivered to your inbox.

"Burger King certainly took a risk in going this route. [And] even if the ad doesn't translate into increased sales of Whoppers, it's started an important conversation about privacy and ethics of advertising on these new platforms," she says.


Burger King launches TV ad that triggers Google Home: clever marketing trick or invasive ploy?

The new ad has raised concerns about privacy and security in a world of 'always listening' smart devices.

On Wednesday, a Burger King television ad likely became the first ever to intentionally trigger smart devices like Google Home and Android phones. In the commercial, an actor faces the camera and clearly enunciates the phrase, "Okay, Google. What is the Whopper burger?" at the end of the advertisement.

Around the country, the audio clip prompted a response on a number of devices, with phones and smart speakers listing off the ingredients in the burger from the Whopper's information page on Wikipedia.

The new ad, however, was not well received by all. Some saw the triggering of their devices by the ad as a nuisance, while others found the commercial to be an uncomfortable reminder of the intrusion of advertising in a world peppered with "always-listening" smart devices. Google, which had not consulted with Burger King for the commercial, disabled the Google Home's ability to be awakened by the advertisement within a day of its first airing.

The response to the new ad highlights many of the concerns associated with privacy and security concerns in an increasingly digital world. But while this might be the first ad to target users who already own a Google Home or other listening smart device, privacy-invading strategies companies use to target customers are nothing new, says Saleem Alhabash, a professor of Public Relations and Social Media at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Mich.

"Behavioral targeting has been applied for quite some time now," Dr. Alhabash tells The Christian Science Monitor in an email. "Advertisers, including Google, have been recording our digital traces and through algorithmic manipulation, providing us with tailored ads that are more meaningful to us."

Critical race theory: Who gets to decide what is history?

The new Burger King ad is simply an extension of this general philosophy, he says. But while being on the cutting edge of new types of advertising like this can pay big dividends, it can also be risky. After all, consumer backlash can be hard to predict, especially with a new type of commercial like this.

"Across different generational groups, consumers are well aware of the dangers and threats to their own security and privacy online. They know what the deal is," Alhabash adds. "In a lot of instances, they feel that protecting their privacy online is such a behemoth that they end up feeling defeated and give in to the idea of them not being able to protect their privacy. However, when an ad like the Burger King one floats to the surface, consumers are reminded of how vulnerable they are."

That, he says, is part of the reason this ad has struck such a dissonant chord with many viewers. But that wasn't the only way the ad backfired.

As the new commercial first began to air, many viewers realized that the information read out by Google Homes and Android devices came directly from Wikipedia, which can be edited by anyone. Soon, the description of the Whopper on the Wikipedia page was altered to contain a list of fictitious and disgusting ingredients, with one edit identifying the Whopper as "the worst hamburger product" sold by the fast food chain. Burger King quickly took steps to restore a more palatable-sounding Wikipedia entry, but before long it had encountered another problem: Google.

"Google has not been consulted on this, therefore, it is not getting any of the advertising dollars spent on this ad," says Alhabash. "Google wants a piece of the pie."

The tech giant found itself in the position of having its own products activated in an ad that many disliked, without any compensation. Before long, users reported that the new commercial no longer activated their Google Homes, and Burger King informed The New York Times that Google had made alterations that specifically prevented the ad's audio waking up the devices, thereby weakening the effectiveness of the new campaign.

The deactivation by Google comes only a few weeks after the tech giant found itself in a similar position to Burger King when some Google Home users reacted negatively to what seemed to be a promotion for Disney's recent live-action Beauty and the Beast film tucked in between the weather and the news. The promotion, which played on a few devices on the day of the film's release, "wasn't intended to be an ad," according to a Google spokesperson.

But despite the fair amount of negative feedback for this kind of invasive advertising, the new Burger King ad – as well as any copycat commercials that crop up – may yet be a success, says Jenny Olson, a professor of marketing at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kan.

"From a marketing standpoint, Burger King achieved their objective of capturing consumers' attention in an increasingly saturated mediascape," Dr. Olson tells the Monitor via email. "Honestly, when I first heard about the ad (despite potential privacy concerns), my reaction was 'Wow, that's pretty clever!' This sort of advertising is something we’re going to be seeing more of as AI devices become more common in our homes."

The purpose of advertising, after all, is to generate buzz – not just about the product, but also about the commercial itself – and in that regard, the invasive ad has been immensely successful, Olson says.

Get the Monitor Stories you care about delivered to your inbox.

"Burger King certainly took a risk in going this route. [And] even if the ad doesn't translate into increased sales of Whoppers, it's started an important conversation about privacy and ethics of advertising on these new platforms," she says.


Burger King launches TV ad that triggers Google Home: clever marketing trick or invasive ploy?

The new ad has raised concerns about privacy and security in a world of 'always listening' smart devices.

On Wednesday, a Burger King television ad likely became the first ever to intentionally trigger smart devices like Google Home and Android phones. In the commercial, an actor faces the camera and clearly enunciates the phrase, "Okay, Google. What is the Whopper burger?" at the end of the advertisement.

Around the country, the audio clip prompted a response on a number of devices, with phones and smart speakers listing off the ingredients in the burger from the Whopper's information page on Wikipedia.

The new ad, however, was not well received by all. Some saw the triggering of their devices by the ad as a nuisance, while others found the commercial to be an uncomfortable reminder of the intrusion of advertising in a world peppered with "always-listening" smart devices. Google, which had not consulted with Burger King for the commercial, disabled the Google Home's ability to be awakened by the advertisement within a day of its first airing.

The response to the new ad highlights many of the concerns associated with privacy and security concerns in an increasingly digital world. But while this might be the first ad to target users who already own a Google Home or other listening smart device, privacy-invading strategies companies use to target customers are nothing new, says Saleem Alhabash, a professor of Public Relations and Social Media at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Mich.

"Behavioral targeting has been applied for quite some time now," Dr. Alhabash tells The Christian Science Monitor in an email. "Advertisers, including Google, have been recording our digital traces and through algorithmic manipulation, providing us with tailored ads that are more meaningful to us."

Critical race theory: Who gets to decide what is history?

The new Burger King ad is simply an extension of this general philosophy, he says. But while being on the cutting edge of new types of advertising like this can pay big dividends, it can also be risky. After all, consumer backlash can be hard to predict, especially with a new type of commercial like this.

"Across different generational groups, consumers are well aware of the dangers and threats to their own security and privacy online. They know what the deal is," Alhabash adds. "In a lot of instances, they feel that protecting their privacy online is such a behemoth that they end up feeling defeated and give in to the idea of them not being able to protect their privacy. However, when an ad like the Burger King one floats to the surface, consumers are reminded of how vulnerable they are."

That, he says, is part of the reason this ad has struck such a dissonant chord with many viewers. But that wasn't the only way the ad backfired.

As the new commercial first began to air, many viewers realized that the information read out by Google Homes and Android devices came directly from Wikipedia, which can be edited by anyone. Soon, the description of the Whopper on the Wikipedia page was altered to contain a list of fictitious and disgusting ingredients, with one edit identifying the Whopper as "the worst hamburger product" sold by the fast food chain. Burger King quickly took steps to restore a more palatable-sounding Wikipedia entry, but before long it had encountered another problem: Google.

"Google has not been consulted on this, therefore, it is not getting any of the advertising dollars spent on this ad," says Alhabash. "Google wants a piece of the pie."

The tech giant found itself in the position of having its own products activated in an ad that many disliked, without any compensation. Before long, users reported that the new commercial no longer activated their Google Homes, and Burger King informed The New York Times that Google had made alterations that specifically prevented the ad's audio waking up the devices, thereby weakening the effectiveness of the new campaign.

The deactivation by Google comes only a few weeks after the tech giant found itself in a similar position to Burger King when some Google Home users reacted negatively to what seemed to be a promotion for Disney's recent live-action Beauty and the Beast film tucked in between the weather and the news. The promotion, which played on a few devices on the day of the film's release, "wasn't intended to be an ad," according to a Google spokesperson.

But despite the fair amount of negative feedback for this kind of invasive advertising, the new Burger King ad – as well as any copycat commercials that crop up – may yet be a success, says Jenny Olson, a professor of marketing at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kan.

"From a marketing standpoint, Burger King achieved their objective of capturing consumers' attention in an increasingly saturated mediascape," Dr. Olson tells the Monitor via email. "Honestly, when I first heard about the ad (despite potential privacy concerns), my reaction was 'Wow, that's pretty clever!' This sort of advertising is something we’re going to be seeing more of as AI devices become more common in our homes."

The purpose of advertising, after all, is to generate buzz – not just about the product, but also about the commercial itself – and in that regard, the invasive ad has been immensely successful, Olson says.

Get the Monitor Stories you care about delivered to your inbox.

"Burger King certainly took a risk in going this route. [And] even if the ad doesn't translate into increased sales of Whoppers, it's started an important conversation about privacy and ethics of advertising on these new platforms," she says.


Burger King launches TV ad that triggers Google Home: clever marketing trick or invasive ploy?

The new ad has raised concerns about privacy and security in a world of 'always listening' smart devices.

On Wednesday, a Burger King television ad likely became the first ever to intentionally trigger smart devices like Google Home and Android phones. In the commercial, an actor faces the camera and clearly enunciates the phrase, "Okay, Google. What is the Whopper burger?" at the end of the advertisement.

Around the country, the audio clip prompted a response on a number of devices, with phones and smart speakers listing off the ingredients in the burger from the Whopper's information page on Wikipedia.

The new ad, however, was not well received by all. Some saw the triggering of their devices by the ad as a nuisance, while others found the commercial to be an uncomfortable reminder of the intrusion of advertising in a world peppered with "always-listening" smart devices. Google, which had not consulted with Burger King for the commercial, disabled the Google Home's ability to be awakened by the advertisement within a day of its first airing.

The response to the new ad highlights many of the concerns associated with privacy and security concerns in an increasingly digital world. But while this might be the first ad to target users who already own a Google Home or other listening smart device, privacy-invading strategies companies use to target customers are nothing new, says Saleem Alhabash, a professor of Public Relations and Social Media at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Mich.

"Behavioral targeting has been applied for quite some time now," Dr. Alhabash tells The Christian Science Monitor in an email. "Advertisers, including Google, have been recording our digital traces and through algorithmic manipulation, providing us with tailored ads that are more meaningful to us."

Critical race theory: Who gets to decide what is history?

The new Burger King ad is simply an extension of this general philosophy, he says. But while being on the cutting edge of new types of advertising like this can pay big dividends, it can also be risky. After all, consumer backlash can be hard to predict, especially with a new type of commercial like this.

"Across different generational groups, consumers are well aware of the dangers and threats to their own security and privacy online. They know what the deal is," Alhabash adds. "In a lot of instances, they feel that protecting their privacy online is such a behemoth that they end up feeling defeated and give in to the idea of them not being able to protect their privacy. However, when an ad like the Burger King one floats to the surface, consumers are reminded of how vulnerable they are."

That, he says, is part of the reason this ad has struck such a dissonant chord with many viewers. But that wasn't the only way the ad backfired.

As the new commercial first began to air, many viewers realized that the information read out by Google Homes and Android devices came directly from Wikipedia, which can be edited by anyone. Soon, the description of the Whopper on the Wikipedia page was altered to contain a list of fictitious and disgusting ingredients, with one edit identifying the Whopper as "the worst hamburger product" sold by the fast food chain. Burger King quickly took steps to restore a more palatable-sounding Wikipedia entry, but before long it had encountered another problem: Google.

"Google has not been consulted on this, therefore, it is not getting any of the advertising dollars spent on this ad," says Alhabash. "Google wants a piece of the pie."

The tech giant found itself in the position of having its own products activated in an ad that many disliked, without any compensation. Before long, users reported that the new commercial no longer activated their Google Homes, and Burger King informed The New York Times that Google had made alterations that specifically prevented the ad's audio waking up the devices, thereby weakening the effectiveness of the new campaign.

The deactivation by Google comes only a few weeks after the tech giant found itself in a similar position to Burger King when some Google Home users reacted negatively to what seemed to be a promotion for Disney's recent live-action Beauty and the Beast film tucked in between the weather and the news. The promotion, which played on a few devices on the day of the film's release, "wasn't intended to be an ad," according to a Google spokesperson.

But despite the fair amount of negative feedback for this kind of invasive advertising, the new Burger King ad – as well as any copycat commercials that crop up – may yet be a success, says Jenny Olson, a professor of marketing at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kan.

"From a marketing standpoint, Burger King achieved their objective of capturing consumers' attention in an increasingly saturated mediascape," Dr. Olson tells the Monitor via email. "Honestly, when I first heard about the ad (despite potential privacy concerns), my reaction was 'Wow, that's pretty clever!' This sort of advertising is something we’re going to be seeing more of as AI devices become more common in our homes."

The purpose of advertising, after all, is to generate buzz – not just about the product, but also about the commercial itself – and in that regard, the invasive ad has been immensely successful, Olson says.

Get the Monitor Stories you care about delivered to your inbox.

"Burger King certainly took a risk in going this route. [And] even if the ad doesn't translate into increased sales of Whoppers, it's started an important conversation about privacy and ethics of advertising on these new platforms," she says.


Burger King launches TV ad that triggers Google Home: clever marketing trick or invasive ploy?

The new ad has raised concerns about privacy and security in a world of 'always listening' smart devices.

On Wednesday, a Burger King television ad likely became the first ever to intentionally trigger smart devices like Google Home and Android phones. In the commercial, an actor faces the camera and clearly enunciates the phrase, "Okay, Google. What is the Whopper burger?" at the end of the advertisement.

Around the country, the audio clip prompted a response on a number of devices, with phones and smart speakers listing off the ingredients in the burger from the Whopper's information page on Wikipedia.

The new ad, however, was not well received by all. Some saw the triggering of their devices by the ad as a nuisance, while others found the commercial to be an uncomfortable reminder of the intrusion of advertising in a world peppered with "always-listening" smart devices. Google, which had not consulted with Burger King for the commercial, disabled the Google Home's ability to be awakened by the advertisement within a day of its first airing.

The response to the new ad highlights many of the concerns associated with privacy and security concerns in an increasingly digital world. But while this might be the first ad to target users who already own a Google Home or other listening smart device, privacy-invading strategies companies use to target customers are nothing new, says Saleem Alhabash, a professor of Public Relations and Social Media at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Mich.

"Behavioral targeting has been applied for quite some time now," Dr. Alhabash tells The Christian Science Monitor in an email. "Advertisers, including Google, have been recording our digital traces and through algorithmic manipulation, providing us with tailored ads that are more meaningful to us."

Critical race theory: Who gets to decide what is history?

The new Burger King ad is simply an extension of this general philosophy, he says. But while being on the cutting edge of new types of advertising like this can pay big dividends, it can also be risky. After all, consumer backlash can be hard to predict, especially with a new type of commercial like this.

"Across different generational groups, consumers are well aware of the dangers and threats to their own security and privacy online. They know what the deal is," Alhabash adds. "In a lot of instances, they feel that protecting their privacy online is such a behemoth that they end up feeling defeated and give in to the idea of them not being able to protect their privacy. However, when an ad like the Burger King one floats to the surface, consumers are reminded of how vulnerable they are."

That, he says, is part of the reason this ad has struck such a dissonant chord with many viewers. But that wasn't the only way the ad backfired.

As the new commercial first began to air, many viewers realized that the information read out by Google Homes and Android devices came directly from Wikipedia, which can be edited by anyone. Soon, the description of the Whopper on the Wikipedia page was altered to contain a list of fictitious and disgusting ingredients, with one edit identifying the Whopper as "the worst hamburger product" sold by the fast food chain. Burger King quickly took steps to restore a more palatable-sounding Wikipedia entry, but before long it had encountered another problem: Google.

"Google has not been consulted on this, therefore, it is not getting any of the advertising dollars spent on this ad," says Alhabash. "Google wants a piece of the pie."

The tech giant found itself in the position of having its own products activated in an ad that many disliked, without any compensation. Before long, users reported that the new commercial no longer activated their Google Homes, and Burger King informed The New York Times that Google had made alterations that specifically prevented the ad's audio waking up the devices, thereby weakening the effectiveness of the new campaign.

The deactivation by Google comes only a few weeks after the tech giant found itself in a similar position to Burger King when some Google Home users reacted negatively to what seemed to be a promotion for Disney's recent live-action Beauty and the Beast film tucked in between the weather and the news. The promotion, which played on a few devices on the day of the film's release, "wasn't intended to be an ad," according to a Google spokesperson.

But despite the fair amount of negative feedback for this kind of invasive advertising, the new Burger King ad – as well as any copycat commercials that crop up – may yet be a success, says Jenny Olson, a professor of marketing at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kan.

"From a marketing standpoint, Burger King achieved their objective of capturing consumers' attention in an increasingly saturated mediascape," Dr. Olson tells the Monitor via email. "Honestly, when I first heard about the ad (despite potential privacy concerns), my reaction was 'Wow, that's pretty clever!' This sort of advertising is something we’re going to be seeing more of as AI devices become more common in our homes."

The purpose of advertising, after all, is to generate buzz – not just about the product, but also about the commercial itself – and in that regard, the invasive ad has been immensely successful, Olson says.

Get the Monitor Stories you care about delivered to your inbox.

"Burger King certainly took a risk in going this route. [And] even if the ad doesn't translate into increased sales of Whoppers, it's started an important conversation about privacy and ethics of advertising on these new platforms," she says.


Burger King launches TV ad that triggers Google Home: clever marketing trick or invasive ploy?

The new ad has raised concerns about privacy and security in a world of 'always listening' smart devices.

On Wednesday, a Burger King television ad likely became the first ever to intentionally trigger smart devices like Google Home and Android phones. In the commercial, an actor faces the camera and clearly enunciates the phrase, "Okay, Google. What is the Whopper burger?" at the end of the advertisement.

Around the country, the audio clip prompted a response on a number of devices, with phones and smart speakers listing off the ingredients in the burger from the Whopper's information page on Wikipedia.

The new ad, however, was not well received by all. Some saw the triggering of their devices by the ad as a nuisance, while others found the commercial to be an uncomfortable reminder of the intrusion of advertising in a world peppered with "always-listening" smart devices. Google, which had not consulted with Burger King for the commercial, disabled the Google Home's ability to be awakened by the advertisement within a day of its first airing.

The response to the new ad highlights many of the concerns associated with privacy and security concerns in an increasingly digital world. But while this might be the first ad to target users who already own a Google Home or other listening smart device, privacy-invading strategies companies use to target customers are nothing new, says Saleem Alhabash, a professor of Public Relations and Social Media at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Mich.

"Behavioral targeting has been applied for quite some time now," Dr. Alhabash tells The Christian Science Monitor in an email. "Advertisers, including Google, have been recording our digital traces and through algorithmic manipulation, providing us with tailored ads that are more meaningful to us."

Critical race theory: Who gets to decide what is history?

The new Burger King ad is simply an extension of this general philosophy, he says. But while being on the cutting edge of new types of advertising like this can pay big dividends, it can also be risky. After all, consumer backlash can be hard to predict, especially with a new type of commercial like this.

"Across different generational groups, consumers are well aware of the dangers and threats to their own security and privacy online. They know what the deal is," Alhabash adds. "In a lot of instances, they feel that protecting their privacy online is such a behemoth that they end up feeling defeated and give in to the idea of them not being able to protect their privacy. However, when an ad like the Burger King one floats to the surface, consumers are reminded of how vulnerable they are."

That, he says, is part of the reason this ad has struck such a dissonant chord with many viewers. But that wasn't the only way the ad backfired.

As the new commercial first began to air, many viewers realized that the information read out by Google Homes and Android devices came directly from Wikipedia, which can be edited by anyone. Soon, the description of the Whopper on the Wikipedia page was altered to contain a list of fictitious and disgusting ingredients, with one edit identifying the Whopper as "the worst hamburger product" sold by the fast food chain. Burger King quickly took steps to restore a more palatable-sounding Wikipedia entry, but before long it had encountered another problem: Google.

"Google has not been consulted on this, therefore, it is not getting any of the advertising dollars spent on this ad," says Alhabash. "Google wants a piece of the pie."

The tech giant found itself in the position of having its own products activated in an ad that many disliked, without any compensation. Before long, users reported that the new commercial no longer activated their Google Homes, and Burger King informed The New York Times that Google had made alterations that specifically prevented the ad's audio waking up the devices, thereby weakening the effectiveness of the new campaign.

The deactivation by Google comes only a few weeks after the tech giant found itself in a similar position to Burger King when some Google Home users reacted negatively to what seemed to be a promotion for Disney's recent live-action Beauty and the Beast film tucked in between the weather and the news. The promotion, which played on a few devices on the day of the film's release, "wasn't intended to be an ad," according to a Google spokesperson.

But despite the fair amount of negative feedback for this kind of invasive advertising, the new Burger King ad – as well as any copycat commercials that crop up – may yet be a success, says Jenny Olson, a professor of marketing at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kan.

"From a marketing standpoint, Burger King achieved their objective of capturing consumers' attention in an increasingly saturated mediascape," Dr. Olson tells the Monitor via email. "Honestly, when I first heard about the ad (despite potential privacy concerns), my reaction was 'Wow, that's pretty clever!' This sort of advertising is something we’re going to be seeing more of as AI devices become more common in our homes."

The purpose of advertising, after all, is to generate buzz – not just about the product, but also about the commercial itself – and in that regard, the invasive ad has been immensely successful, Olson says.

Get the Monitor Stories you care about delivered to your inbox.

"Burger King certainly took a risk in going this route. [And] even if the ad doesn't translate into increased sales of Whoppers, it's started an important conversation about privacy and ethics of advertising on these new platforms," she says.


Burger King launches TV ad that triggers Google Home: clever marketing trick or invasive ploy?

The new ad has raised concerns about privacy and security in a world of 'always listening' smart devices.

On Wednesday, a Burger King television ad likely became the first ever to intentionally trigger smart devices like Google Home and Android phones. In the commercial, an actor faces the camera and clearly enunciates the phrase, "Okay, Google. What is the Whopper burger?" at the end of the advertisement.

Around the country, the audio clip prompted a response on a number of devices, with phones and smart speakers listing off the ingredients in the burger from the Whopper's information page on Wikipedia.

The new ad, however, was not well received by all. Some saw the triggering of their devices by the ad as a nuisance, while others found the commercial to be an uncomfortable reminder of the intrusion of advertising in a world peppered with "always-listening" smart devices. Google, which had not consulted with Burger King for the commercial, disabled the Google Home's ability to be awakened by the advertisement within a day of its first airing.

The response to the new ad highlights many of the concerns associated with privacy and security concerns in an increasingly digital world. But while this might be the first ad to target users who already own a Google Home or other listening smart device, privacy-invading strategies companies use to target customers are nothing new, says Saleem Alhabash, a professor of Public Relations and Social Media at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Mich.

"Behavioral targeting has been applied for quite some time now," Dr. Alhabash tells The Christian Science Monitor in an email. "Advertisers, including Google, have been recording our digital traces and through algorithmic manipulation, providing us with tailored ads that are more meaningful to us."

Critical race theory: Who gets to decide what is history?

The new Burger King ad is simply an extension of this general philosophy, he says. But while being on the cutting edge of new types of advertising like this can pay big dividends, it can also be risky. After all, consumer backlash can be hard to predict, especially with a new type of commercial like this.

"Across different generational groups, consumers are well aware of the dangers and threats to their own security and privacy online. They know what the deal is," Alhabash adds. "In a lot of instances, they feel that protecting their privacy online is such a behemoth that they end up feeling defeated and give in to the idea of them not being able to protect their privacy. However, when an ad like the Burger King one floats to the surface, consumers are reminded of how vulnerable they are."

That, he says, is part of the reason this ad has struck such a dissonant chord with many viewers. But that wasn't the only way the ad backfired.

As the new commercial first began to air, many viewers realized that the information read out by Google Homes and Android devices came directly from Wikipedia, which can be edited by anyone. Soon, the description of the Whopper on the Wikipedia page was altered to contain a list of fictitious and disgusting ingredients, with one edit identifying the Whopper as "the worst hamburger product" sold by the fast food chain. Burger King quickly took steps to restore a more palatable-sounding Wikipedia entry, but before long it had encountered another problem: Google.

"Google has not been consulted on this, therefore, it is not getting any of the advertising dollars spent on this ad," says Alhabash. "Google wants a piece of the pie."

The tech giant found itself in the position of having its own products activated in an ad that many disliked, without any compensation. Before long, users reported that the new commercial no longer activated their Google Homes, and Burger King informed The New York Times that Google had made alterations that specifically prevented the ad's audio waking up the devices, thereby weakening the effectiveness of the new campaign.

The deactivation by Google comes only a few weeks after the tech giant found itself in a similar position to Burger King when some Google Home users reacted negatively to what seemed to be a promotion for Disney's recent live-action Beauty and the Beast film tucked in between the weather and the news. The promotion, which played on a few devices on the day of the film's release, "wasn't intended to be an ad," according to a Google spokesperson.

But despite the fair amount of negative feedback for this kind of invasive advertising, the new Burger King ad – as well as any copycat commercials that crop up – may yet be a success, says Jenny Olson, a professor of marketing at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kan.

"From a marketing standpoint, Burger King achieved their objective of capturing consumers' attention in an increasingly saturated mediascape," Dr. Olson tells the Monitor via email. "Honestly, when I first heard about the ad (despite potential privacy concerns), my reaction was 'Wow, that's pretty clever!' This sort of advertising is something we’re going to be seeing more of as AI devices become more common in our homes."

The purpose of advertising, after all, is to generate buzz – not just about the product, but also about the commercial itself – and in that regard, the invasive ad has been immensely successful, Olson says.

Get the Monitor Stories you care about delivered to your inbox.

"Burger King certainly took a risk in going this route. [And] even if the ad doesn't translate into increased sales of Whoppers, it's started an important conversation about privacy and ethics of advertising on these new platforms," she says.


Watch the video: Burger King ad 1988 (January 2022).