- Pepsi is launching a Facebook Messenger game powered by a chatbot as a holiday extension of its ongoing PepsiMoji campaign, according to a company press release.
- The game is a chatbot take on “White Elephant” gift giving. The effort will run from Dec. 1-20 and allows players to exchange gifts like ugly holiday sweaters with friends after communicating with a branded chatbot using the hashtag #SayItWithPepsi.
- The larger PepsiMoji effort is also expanding to include holiday-inspired emojis and pop-up shop items for sale such as apparel, mugs and phone cases.
The new brand game from Pepsi provides a fresh spin on emerging chatbot technology. Marketers have already tapped over 30,000 Facebook Messenger chatbots for interactions ranging from customer service to in-app payments, but games have been previously underutilized despite providing a fun, engaging alternative to traditional marketing.
Messenger was reportedly testing an Instant Games platform earlier in November, with major mobile developers like the team behind Candy Crush working with the feature. After moving social and digital marketing operations in-house earlier in the fall, Pepsi is showing it's also a brand eager to toy with the bleeding edge conversational format.
Using chatbots in a gaming context might be an effective way to reach consumers with a branded message. Forrester released its "State of Chatbots" report in late October that found that, although chatbots can be effective with a simple, narrow set of responses and commands, they can disappoint consumers with poor user experience and not effectively setting expectations. Pepsi’s game should meet that challenge with a limited group of possible interactions along what should be clearly set expectations for game players.