How the Burger King Google ad went all to hell
Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share
17 April 2017
The Burger King Google was a good idea. But it went all kablooey.
Sometimes bad execution thwarts a great idea. The idea behind Burger King Google ad was fabulous. Turns out, the execution…not so much.
In case you didn’t hear, Burger King ran an ad that triggered Google Home when it asked, “OK Google, what is the Whopper burger?” When coming from your TV, the “OK Google” prompt turns on Google Home and answers the question. (For the Amazon Echo, the prompt word is “Alexa.”)
“In this case, the entry read that the Whopper contains cyanide and is cancer causing. Well shit. Guess BK should’ve better understood how Google Home works and what the BK Wikipedia entry actually says.”
The idea is practically genius. Practically. When I first heard about the Burger King Google spot, Google had already taken precautions by inserting the audio file into its internal blacklist so the ad wouldn’t trigger its devices. Generally, I’m fond of that kind of guerrilla marketing because it tells audiences that you’re different.
Then the Burger King Google ad turned into a turd
But here’s where the execution went wrong. For one thing, when asked that type of question, Google Home and Amazon Echo often call up the Wikipedia entry to answer. In this case, the entry read that the Whopper contains cyanide and is cancer causing. Well shit. Guess BK should’ve better understood how Google Home works and what the BK Wikipedia entry actually says.
That’s not the biggest miscue, however. Guerrilla marketing only works if your brand has permission for it. If your brand truly says you are different and better, a little out there and willing to take risks. Then guerrilla marketing becomes more important and meaningful.
Burger King is the opposite of that. No one in the fast food industry is more of a follower than BK. No one switches out menu items as much as BK, hoping something would work.
More damaging, I don’t even know what the Burger King brand even means. I guess it’s just “burgers.” But it also has echoes of a failure. Its sales have peaked a bit, overtaking Wendy’s for second place in the fast food market. But it could actually take on McDonalds’ market leadership if its brand actually meant something.
And if that brand meant something that would help the Burger King Google ad make sense. In the end, all the ad means is desperation.
Fox News ratings Tom Dougherty, CEO - Stealing Share 20 November 2017 Fox News ratings dip, others rise. A lasting trend? The other cable news networks envy the Fox News ratings but a tide might be turning. Ratings for the cable news network leader are dropping 12% in...
UCLA basketball thieves Tom Dougherty, CEO - Stealing Share 16 November 2017 UCLA basketball brand as it stands now The UCLA basketball brand suffers a major wound. It has been many years since NCAA basketball fans talked about the BRAND of UCLA basketball. The heyday...
Daniel Lanois Tom Dougherty, CEO - Stealing Share 14 November 2017 Daniel Lanois, best record producer you've never heard of When listening to music, you often keep listening to your latest obsession. My latest? Bob Dylan’s genius producer, Daniel Lanois. So much so...