|2. GOOGLE HOME + BURGER KING
I mean, we should’ve seen it coming.
If you missed the news this week (and to be honest, you could easily be forgiven what withÂ Pepsi,Â United Airlines,Â Godwin’s Law of Press Secretaries,Â the President of the United States remembering his dessert over the name of the country he just bombedÂ -Â Hell, at the time of writing, the planet has never been closer to it’s next World War and here I am writing about fast food + the future of home utility/comms… Point being: with all that’s been going on, you’re allowed to have missed some things)Â then the short version is: some idiots at Burger King’s advertising agency decided it’d be really funny/cool/’creative’ to include a Google Home trigger in its latest TV ad.
Here’s a link to the ad (and subsequent Google Home response)
If you don’t want to click and view/listen, it goes something like – Burger King employee appears and says ‘This ad is 15 seconds long, which is nowhere near long enough to tell you all about the Burger King Whopper. So let’s try something: OK, Google, what is a Burger King Whopper?’
And then Google Home, your Google Home, responds with the Wikipedia definition of the Burger King Whopper.
There are a bunch of things to say here:
First: big up to Google for jumping on this super quick and shutting the damn thing down within 24hrs (although there are reports that BK is finding a way around this (way to go gang, pissing off Google is always a smart move)).
Second, to all the numpties that said: ‘Woah! This breaks new ground for advertising / smart-home integration – it like, totally breaks the 4th wall man’ – just get out. Leave. Go take a long hard look in the mirror and have a serious word with yourself.
YES, this was a ‘clever’ thing to do. But really? How is this useful, to anyone? Which leads me onto my third point.
Where the hell was the planner in any of these conversations?
Who was the person responsible for saying ‘Wait a second, will any consumers actually find this useful? Or will most of them find it INCREDIBLY infuriating?’ Â
Hell, maybe they knew that’s what’d happen. Maybe they knew it’d be a PR win and, irrespective of the ‘result’ (eg: Google shutting it down and/or BK’s Wikipedia entry being hacked/edited continuously just to mess with the whole thing – again, really not thought through at all gang), this is what they were ultimately aiming for and I’m just playing into the trap by writing about it here…?
But I’d gamble not.
Point is: this could’ve been done better. So much better.
I don’t know, how’s ‘OK Google, where’s the nearest Burger King?’ or ‘OK Google, add ‘get a Whopper’ to my to do list’ – or something else that actually be useful as opposed to just being irritating.
I guess I should round off this section by saying something like ‘IT’S NOT HARD, YOU GUYS!’ – but maybe it is. Maybe it’s REALLY DIFFICULT for people that SELL BURGERS to consider what their potential consumers MIGHT ACTUALLY WANT IN THEIR LIVES.
Sidenote: at SXSW this year there was a whole piece on advertising in the smart home. Partly driven by general future-gazing around what the current trend of home assistants mean for the industry but given a kick-start by the recent Beauty & the Beast ‘integration’ [also] into Google Home.
The question I came away with was: if you’re living in an internet-enabled home, with voice assistants, internet-enabled fridges, speakers, etc… and it’s all set up in a way that your house can actually speak back to you, could you ever see a point in the future where you would sign up to having advertising interspersed within your audio notifications? For example: ‘Hey Google, tell me about my day’ – ‘Good afternoon, James, you have a team lunch at 12pm. May I suggest Young’s, I hear the views are spectacular and if you use ‘Google’ at point of booking, you’ll get 10% off your final bill’ –
Your immediate response would perhaps be ‘Oh my God, No‘.
But what if agreeing to have this in-home advertising contributed to your rent? Or maybe madeyou savings against your utility bills? Does it become more of an attractive offer? Something to noodle on, as we march slowly towards our assisted future…