Casper’s new late-night low-tech chatbot entertains insomniacs
Can’t fall asleep after binge watching Netflix late at night? Casper’s “insomnobot” will keep you company.
The mattress company unveiled a chatty new bot on Wednesday to keep all the night owls and insomniacs of the world engaged. Just text the bot on 844-823-5621 between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m., and you’ll get an automated but personalized text response instantly.
Here’s how it works: When the bot receives a text, it chooses an appropriate response by identifying certain keywords. It can generate over 2,000 different responses, depending on what category and emotion the keyword falls under. For example, if someone says, “What’s up?” it will tap the “initiation” category and choose from a hundred odd responses that people use to answer questions along the lines of “How are you?” or “What’s going on?”
“It really helps us tell our brand story,” said Lindsay Kaplan, Casper’s vp of communications. “As a company, we not only produce great products but also create great experiences and conversations around sleep, whether through Van Winkle’s or this late night chatbot.”
Brands have been flooding messaging apps like Facebook Messenger, Kik and Slack since earlier this year, unleashing an army of botso on them that enable everything from financial transactions to personalized beauty recommendations.
But while most branded bots tend to be functional or informational in nature, Casper’s is more conversational in nature. That is also why it’s on SMS, rather than a messaging app.
“This is different because it’s more natural and human than other bots, and its sole purpose is to be a friend when the rest of the world is fast asleep,” said Gabe Whaley, founder and CEO of Mschf, adding that a lot of attention was paid to the copy of the 2,000 responses in order to make them sound as natural as possible. “With SMS, we are able to create seemingly real interactions to address a common late night emotion: loneliness.”
The brand programmed insomnobot after user testing conversations with people focused on late-night musings, such as snacks, TV shows, what’s keeping them up and even dating. Ask the bot “Wanna date?” and it may respond with a shrug: “Sorry, I’m just not ready.” It’s like Siri — just less snarky and over text.
Casper’s insomnobot comes on the heels of a viral marketing stunt earlier in the summer, in which it helped users trick their friends into thinking they’re having a fun night out from their beds. The brand launched Late Night Snap Hacks, a website that gave them 10 pre-made scenes like concerts and city taxis that they could record on their phones and share on Snapchat. It drew over 200,000 users within its first two days.
“Like with everything else, the aim is to build a community that plays an active part in furthering our brand voice,” said Kaplan.
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