media update’s Nikita Geldenhuys takes a look at how chatbots are helping these brands reach their marketing goals.

1. Lancewood’s Emoji Meals chatbot on Facebook Messenger

This Facebook Messenger chatbot was designed to respond exclusively to emojis. Based on the emoji sent, users receive relevant cooking recipes, tips, and suggestions. Every recipe or suggestion includes a Lancewood product to show users the versatility of the brand’s cheese.

The Emoji Meals bot was conceptualised by M&C Saatchi Abel and developed by Creative Spark. It was launched in February alongside the cooking show Ultimate Braai Master. Stings and carefully timed squeeze-backs during the show prompted viewers to use the chatbot, which provided them with the recipes and techniques used by the contestants.

According to the M&C Saatchi Abel team, the bot earned 453 231 interactions during the campaign, which ran from 5 February to 30 April. It proved so successful that it was adopted as a permanent feature on the Lancewood Facebook Page.

“Considering the size of our Facebook Page and the novelty of the tech, we did not foresee the immense response we received – far surpassing our expectations in terms of engagement levels,” says Frances Skelton, business director on the Lancewood account at M&C Saatchi Abel.

Find out more about this bot in the article, LANCEWOOD® and Ultimate Braai Master launch Emoji Meals.

2. Unilever’s Dinner on Demand chatbot on Facebook Messenger

Dinner on Demand is South Africa’s very first recipe-suggesting chatbot, says Carla Worth, business unit director at Liquorice. The agency launched the bot in October 2016. It also developed whatsfordinner? – a Knorr-branded online service to which the Dinner on Demand chatbot is linked.

Using Facebook Messenger, meal providers tell us what ingredients they have in their cupboard or fridge and we will respond instantly with a recipe featuring the ingredients they provided,” explains Worth.

The AI bot’s reply includes an image of the dish and the option to request a different recipe featuring the same ingredients.

“We have reached close to four million consumers through Facebook advertising, and close to 200 000 consumers have engaged with the campaign in some way or another,” says Worth. Liquorice is now looking at further bot technology integration to enable consumers, and particularly millennials, to engage directly with brands and receive immediate responses.

“Bot technology allows a brand like whatsfordinner? to continually engage with our consumer, giving them on-the-go solutions, and ensuring that – no matter where our fans are or what time it is – we are there to help them find the perfect meal for any occasion.”  

Read more about what Liquorice says about this bot in the article, Dinner on Demand uses AI to offer you culinary inspiration.

3. Absa ChatBanking on Twitter and Facebook Messenger

Absa launched a social media banking service called ChatBanking in 2016. This bot-type service lets customers send a message to its account on Twitter or Facebook Messenger to get information or do a number of transactions.

Customers can see the balance of their transactional account, pay a beneficiary, or get a mini-statement of their latest transactions. They can also buy airtime, data, or prepaid electricity.

“Changes in customer behaviour require that banking has to be available anytime, anywhere, and accessible wherever the customer is,” Ashley Veasey, group CIO and chief digital officer at Barclays Africa, said in a press release. “The launch of ChatBanking… will open many doors for easier, better digital interactions to take place wherever the customer is.”

Read about the uptake of ChatBanking in our article, Why Absa thinks social media banking is a big deal for Africa

Want to know where bot technology is heading? Read what speakers said at BotCon Africa 2017 in our article, BotCon Africa outlines challenges and opportunities in bot technology.