Advertisers Praise Home Invasion For "Getting Noticed"

"It gets to you in your living room. It messes with you."

Those sentences are ... ominous.

Is "it" just a nuisance, like a determined mosquito?

Or is "it" a real threat, like a murderous robot sent back from the future?  

Whatever those sentences are talking about, you definitely do not want "it" in your living room messing with you.

In this case, those statements come from Ted Lim, chief creative officer of Dentsu Brand Agencies, APAC.

The dreaded "it" to which Lim refers is Burger King's Google Home Whopper commercial, which won Grand Prix in Direct at Cannes.

In explaining the jury's choice, Lim quoted one of his fellow jurors:

"This is the best abuse of technology."

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.” (Source: AdAge)

Do marketers hear the words that come out of their mouths?

When it comes to getting someone's attention, there's a fine line between being bold and being a bully.

You can get someone's attention by sending a mariachi band to surprise them on their way to work - or by breaking into their home and tying them up.

Burger King decided to get people's attention by heading in the latter direction and literally hijacking consumers' devices in order to "extend" the "conversation."

"What’s the worst that can happen? For us, the worst thing that can happen is not to get noticed. And this campaign certainly got noticed.”

That's how Fernando Machado, Head of Brand Marketing at Burger King, explained his decision.

If it's not okay offline, it's not okay online. <span style="font-size: 12pt;">It's a safe bet that Machado wouldn't sign off on a marketing campaign to have employees stand on busy street corners, shouting the merits of the Whopper at unfortunate passers-by.</span>

He definitely wouldn't sign off on sending employees to knock on random doors - with instructions to forcibly enter the homes of anyone who answers the door, and not leave until the person promises to visit the nearest the Burger King.

Both of those campaigns would be "innovative" and "engaging"; they'd have unprecedented success in "getting noticed" by consumers.

Yet Machado wouldn't endorse either of them ... if not because he'd personally recognize that they involve completely unacceptable behavior, then because Burger King's lawyers would have a fit over the liability issues.

Of course, Machado would protest, we didn't invade anyone's home or yell in their faces - and he's right. But real talk: if behavior isn't okay in the real world, it's not okay online ... the fact that you're technically able to get away with it online doesn't ever make it okay.

This is a simple principle:

It's not okay to forcibly invade someone's home, or to forcibly command their attention ... physically or digitally.

Burger King's commercial violated this basic principle by which civilized societies abide - and the industry celebrated it with an award at Cannes.

"[W]e've never seen anything as invasive as that," Lim explained, before saying "we loved it to bits."

Marketers: whenever you find yourselves wondering why everyone hates you, this is why. If you can't learn to be human, get better at pretending.


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