Ad Council targets underage drinking with Messenger chatbot
- The Ad Council released a mobile messaging campaign about the consequences of underage drinking and driving via a story-driven chat experience on Facebook Messenger. The experience, called the "Ultimate Party Foul," was developed in partnership with conversational marketing platform Snaps, according to a press release.
- The experience, which is aimed at teens who interact with interactive stories and chatbots online, highlights the range of potential consequences of drinking and driving, and plays on teens' fear of losing the newfound freedom a driver's license represents. Messenger hosts the chatbot, while Facebook is donating media placements to support the campaign.
- The chat experience is part of the ongoing Underage Drinking and Driving Prevention campaign from the Ad Council, which includes TV, radio, outdoor and digital PSAs supported by donated media nationwide. The campaign directs young people to the microsite UltimatePartyFoul.org for more information and tips to avoid drinking and driving.
The Ad Council's campaign on Facebook Messenger relies on technology that the social network developed to support conversations on its messaging platform, which has more than 1.3 billion users worldwide. The chatbot is intended to be more engaging than a passive ad that disinterested teens often swipe off their smartphone screens. Chatbot developer Snaps says brands can exceed 65% message open rates, 25% click-through rates, four times the revenue lift and reduced service costs of as much as 20% from its technology.
This comes as more brands are looking to develop chatbots as they abandon mobile apps that are costly to maintain, per a report by consulting firm Gartner. Many brands found that apps didn't deliver the level of adoption and customer engagement they had expected, likely due to the passive nature with which many people consume mobile content, while ROI didn't meet estimates because of the costs for app support and continuous updates. That's led many brands to put more effort into consumer messaging apps like Messenger and WeChat to directly interact with customers. Gartner estimated that 20% of brands will abandon mobile apps by next year.
The Ad Council's drunk-driving chatbot campaign is among the strategies that nonprofits and government agencies are using to deter underage drinking or driving under the influence. The Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning campaign last year ran a campaign that immersed viewers in a 360-degree video to warn against the perils of drunk driving. The "Do a 360" ad saw 88% video completion rates — 40% higher than the industry average, signaling that taking a mobile tech-focused approach may be more effective in getting the message out.
Facebook last month resumed chatbot approval after a brief suspension as the social network sought to clean up the fallout from the Cambridge Analytica data-sharing scandal. Facebook said more than 300,000 active bots are on Messenger, with 8 billion messages exchanged between people and businesses every month.