Burger King’s ‘Outstanding, Outrageous’ Google Home Stunt Snags Direct Grand Prix at Cannes

'We've never seen anything as invasive'

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CANNES, France—Here’s one Grand Prix that McCann’s Fearless Girl almost won but didn’t. David Miami’s “Google Home for the Whopper” stunt for Burger King nabbed the Grand Prix in Direct here tonight, prevailing over Fearless Girl by just one vote after a contentious final judging round. 

The campaign debuted in April with 15-second spots that featured the phrase, “OK, Google, what is the Whopper burger?” Any Google Home device within earshot, upon hearing the prompt, told listeners about the fast-food chain’s burger. The work hit a snag when Google Homes cited the Whopper’s Wikipedia entry, which people quickly edited in disturbing ways—but that likely helped propel the work to become a viral hit.

We had a solidly divided jury,” said jury president Ted Lim, the chief creative officer of Dentsu Brand Agencies, APAC. “We were divided over two pieces of work that we were passionately in love with, equally in love with, so we fought and we fought and we fought, and only after five rounds, close to midnight, one of us was tired—and the scale tipped in favor of the braver piece of work.”

Lim added: “I want to quote one of our jurors. In a very heated moment he said, ‘This is the best abuse of technology.’” 

The “Google Home for the Whopper” also struck a nerve with the jury because it was such a distinct piece of work that other agencies or brands wouldn’t be able to copy. Thus, it admittedly wasn’t scalable, but as a onetime stunt, it was remarkable.

We were looking for something that set the tone for the future,” said Lim. “We wanted something that is not easily replicated. We’re not looking for something that can be manufactured again and again and again.” 

See BK’s Fernando Machado and David’s Anselmo Ramos talk about “Google Home for the Whopper” here:

Lim praised both Fearless Girl and “Google Home for the Whopper” as examples of direct marketing “in an indirect way.” But David’s campaign won because “we’ve never seen anything as invasive as that,” said Lim. “It gets to you in your living room. It messes with you. It was just outstanding, outrageous, simply incredible, and we loved it to bits.”

This is David and Burger King’s second Grand Prix of the week, having earned the top prize in the Print & Publishing category for the “Burning Stores” ads. It comes on a week when BK is also being honored as Creative Marketer of the Week here at Cannes.

Gold Lions

  • State Street Global Advisors/ Fearless Girl/Entrant: McCann New York/ 2 Gold Lions
  • Burger King/ Google Home of the Whopper/ Entrant: David, Miami/ Gold Lion
  • Netflix/ Spanish Lessons/ Entrant: Alma DDB, Miami/ Gold Lion
  • Kraft Heinz/ New and Not Improved/ Entrant: CP+B, Boulder/ Gold Lion

Silver Lions

  • Burger King/ Google Home of the Whopper/ Entrant: David, Miami/ Silver Lion
  • Boost Mobile/ Boost Your Voice/ Entrant: 180 LA, Santa Monica/ Silver Lion
  • P&G/ Bradshaw Stain/ Entrant: Saatchi & Saatchi, New York/ Silver Lion
  • State Street Global Advisors/ Fearless Girl/ Entrant: McCann New York/ Silver Lion
  • Archer+Wolf/ The Biggest Sports Endorsement Deal of All Time/ Entrant: FCB Chicago/ Silver Lion

Bronze Lions

  • Adidas Football/ Breaking the Pattern With Adidas Glitch/ Entrant: Possible, Seattle and Iris Worldwide, London/ Bronze Lion
  • Donate Life/ The World’s Biggest Asshole/ Entrant: The Martin Agency, Richmond/ Bronze Lion
  • Donate Life America/ Your Name Saves/ Entrant: Leo Burnett Chicago/ 2 Bronze Lions
  • Amnesty International/ The Refugee Nation/ Entrant: Ogilvy New York/ 2 Bronze Lions
  • Black Lives Matter/ Unsafety Check/ J. Walter Thompson New York/ Bronze Lion
  • State Street Global Advisors/ Fearless Girl/ McCann New York/ Bronze Lion
  • P&G/ Bradshaw Stain/ Entrant: Saatchi & Saatchi, New York/ Bronze Lion
  • Bayer Consumer Health/ Aspirin “Herosmiths”/ Entrant: Energy BBDO, Chicago/ Bronze Lion
  • Domino’s/ Domino’s Wedding Registry/ Entrant: CP+B, Boulder/ Bronze Lion
  • Godiva/ The Box That Keeps Giving/ Entrant: McCann New York/ Bronze Lion
  • Netflix/ Spanish Lessons/ Entrant: Alma DDB, Miami/ Bronze Lion

@KristinaMonllos kristina.monllos@adweek.com Kristina Monllos is a senior editor for Adweek.