Okay, so it didn’t work completely as planned. But you’ve got to give Burger King credit, the idea to troll Google Home users with a quick spot that activates the smart home assistant to explain just what a Whopper is, was just the kind of marketing mischievousness we welcome from the fast feeder that brought us Subservient Chicken, Whopper Sacrifice, and the McWhopper.
Sure, Google Home early adopters didn’t think an ad hijacking their precious butler tech was very funny, but for the 95% of us who don’t have the device sitting next to our couch, it’s a goofy shenanigan we’d all love to pull off. It’s the corporate version of changing your buddy’s ringtone to the Divinyls. Of course, Google wouldn’t let this ad aggression stand, but high fives to BK for having some fun (and collecting a gaggle of earned media while they’re at it). Onward!
What: Comedian Sam Richardson (Veep, Detroiters) gets confessional in Chipotle’s new brand campaign.
Who: Chipotle, Venables Bell & Partners
Why We Care: First of all, Jeffrey Tambor voiceover. Second, it’s directed by David Shane. The campaign also includes comedians Jillian Bell and John Mulaney getting real, all in the effort to convince us all to look past its food safety woes and step inside a giant burrito. Hearing Richardson talk about his severe glitter allergy is a good start . . .
SickKids Foundation “Momstrong”
What: The newest ad in SickKids’ ongoing “VS” campaign, that focuses on the determination, strength, and vulnerability of mothers with gravely ill children.
Who: SickKids Foundation, Cossette
Why We Care: Umm, we have a beating heart? The ad features real stories from real moms with kids being treated at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children, and some of the moms appear in the spot itself. SickKids Foundation vice-president of brand strategy Lori Davison told me earlier this week, “It was a profound emotional experience for the moms to revisit and describe those moments in their lives. It’s important for authenticity–this is always an important element for us. And so much of what SickKids Foundation needs to raise money for is connected to supporting the family. It’s important to get that message out there in a genuine way.”
Jordan Brand “From Big O to Big O. #WhyNot”
What: A new Jordan Brand ad to celebrate Oklahoma City Thunder star Russell Westbrook breaking the NBA’s single-season triple-double record, previously held by hall-of-famer Oscar “Big O” Robertson.
Who: Jordan Brand, R/GA
Why We Care: I’m a sucker for vintage sports footage. And here it helps remind us of one of the all-time greatest, in the service of putting into perspective the very modern accomplishments of Westbrook, all to the tune of Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground.” This is what sports ad swagger is made of.
Burger King “Connected Whopper”
What: A quick ad that hijacked Google Home devices by mischievously saying, “OK Google” and asking for more info about a Whopper, triggering the devices to read aloud the burger’s Wikipedia entry.
Who: Burger King
Why We Care: Was it divisive? Sure. The ratio of YouTube likes and dislikes is almost even–with thumbs down in the lead. Tech heads didn’t like corporate ballyhoo interrupting the voice-activated peek into our digitized utopian future. But c’mon, it’s still funny. Almost as funny as people editing the Whopper Wikipedia entry to say things like it contained “100% medium-sized child.”
Kaiser Permanente “Curry Overcomes”
What: A new campaign for the health care brand that introduces a different side of NBA MVP Stephen Curry’s training regimen.
Who: Kaiser Permanente, Translation
Why We Care: It’s stylish and interesting, but most impressive is how this spot (and the rest of the campaign) alters our expectations for what a health care ad can be. As Translation chief creative officer John Norman told me earlier this week, that was part of the plan all along.