This week has been an interesting one in the advertising world; two competing quick service restaurant giants, each launching a unique concept commercial that uses Google to draw attention to the brand. Both McDonald’s and Burger King used search engine technology in their latest ads in very different ways, and as such, saw very different outcomes in not only the mechanics of the campaign itself, but in the response from the public. If you have not yet seen each commercial, take a look at the quick videos here.
Both commercials are cheeky in nature with their use of Google, and make for extremely creative content compared to their usual campaigns – but creativity can sometimes backfire, as Burger King saw this week.
Burger King’s ad started off strong, but quickly came across one major flaw: Google Home defines queries based on their Wikipedia results, and as we all know, Wikipedia is a publicly editable platform. Once jokesters figured out the purpose of the commercial, the Whopper adopted a Wikipedia definition that included ingredients such as children and cyanide. Because of the “Ok, Google” announcement made by the actor in the commercial, Google Home devices read out such definitions to their users. The public response from this ad has been quite negative among Google Home owners who complained about their devices being “hacked” in a sense by Burger King.
McDonald’s on the other hand, leveraged Google in a different way, bringing in a more interactive element to their commercial. With celebrity endorser Mindy Kaling instructing the viewer to perform a Google search, the experience becomes multi-dimensional and much more engaging in the eyes of the consumer who gets to participate in the campaign. McDonald’s is making even more waves with this commercial because of their un-branded approach to their new marketing campaign. By allowing the viewer to figure out on their own who is behind the ad, McDonald’s draws more attention and intrigue to its brand. Not to mention the media attention that has be garnered due to the unique approach.
While Burger King’s take on the Google-enabled advertising was certainly clever, it was not as well executed as that of McDonald’s. The latter also showed an understanding of its audience and their online habits, as well as what is said online about the McDonald’s brand (including, somehow, the thought that its restaurants are where Coke tastes the best).
In the Google Showdown of Burger King vs. McDonald’s, McDonald’s takes the cake… or perhaps, the fries.