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Burger King Advertises Cyanide and Toenails in Whoppers

From a can of Pepsi healing division in America to United "re-accommodating" a passenger, it has been a banner week for PR blunders. In that spirit, enter an invasive new ad from Burger King. The 15-second Whopper spot doesn't tell you what's in the burger but instead prompts your Google Home device to tell you about it.

The end of the commercial features the actor saying "Okay, Google, what is the Whopper burger?" The phrase is intended to trigger Google Home devices to respond to the command and list the burger's ingredients for the viewer.

You'll be shocked to learn this has backfired. 

Enterprising people -- probably millennials, they ruin everything -- took to Wikipedia to edit the entry on the Whopper, where Google Home got its information. By editing that page, Google started responding to the commercial with surprising answers.

Per Gizmodo, here are some of the ways Google responded following the Wikipedia edits. 

  • “The 'Whopper' is a burger, consisting of a flame-grilled patty made with 100% rat and toenail clippings with no preservatives or fillers, topped with sliced tomatoes, onions, lettuce, pickles, ketchup, and mayonnaise, served on a sesame-seed bun.”
  • “The ‘Whopper’ is a cancer-causing hamburger product sold by the international fast-food restaurant chain Burger King.”
  • “The ‘Whopper’ is the worst hamburger product sold by the international fast-food restaurant chain Burger King.”
  • “The 'Whopper' is a burger, consisting of a flame-grilled patty made with 100% medium-sized child with no preservatives or fillers, topped with sliced tomatoes, onions, lettuce, cyanide, pickles, ketchup, and mayonnaise, served on a sesame-seed bun.”

Gizmodo further reports that Burger King itself edited the Wikipedia entry earlier in the month with important facts such as the Whopper is "also known as America’s favorite burger." There you go, a company editing an online encyclopedia to market to you as a part of a campaign where they use your TV to access devices in your home without permission. Welcome to the dystopian future.

Many quickly voiced privacy concerns. The New York Times called it "a novel but potentially invasive marketing tactic." Burger King President Jose Cil disagreed, telling The Times that Burger King believed it would be "a really positive way" to connect with customers.

Fortunately, if you're weirded out by this whole situation, Google has rendered the ad useless. Around 2:45 p.m. ET Wednesday, Google made it so Google Home devices would no longer respond to the command in the ad.

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Dustin Nelson is a News Writer with Thrillist. He holds a Guinness World Record but has never met the fingernail lady. Follow him @dlukenelson.