Best of the bots: JustEat, TfL, St. Tropez and more join the chatbot revolution

Chat Bots

Chatbots, they’re on their way to changing our world.

From helping us book flights and order pizza to determining the best skincare regime and find true love, the rise of chatbots shows no sign of abating. And as artificial intelligence (AI) becomes more and more advanced chances are we’ll be seeing a lot more bots take over our customer service, search and brand engagement needs.

Over the last 12 months we’ve seen a host of brands get in on the ground floor, here we unveil the best of the bots.

1) Just Eat & The X Factor bond

With The X Factor still one of the most-watched shows on TV, food ordering service Just Eat wanted to capitalise on its lead sponsorship of the programme by also supporting a weekly online-only chat show.

The show, Just Eat Extra Bites, the brainchild of Byte London, integrated with Just Eat’s wider activity around the show, in particular it’s #UnsungSuperstars campaign. It will also look to drive web users towards the specially-designed Just Eat Facebook Messenger chatbot.

2) Schwartz spice brand

Spice brand Schwartz partnered with The Apprentice finalist, Nick Holzherr, and Spark Foundry to create a chatbot on Facebook.

The chatbot leveraged AI from Whisk’s Food Genome technology to advise people on personalised cooking recipes based on what is available in their fridge.

3) Leeds Beckett University

Leeds Beckett University launched a chatbot that informed students of their enrolment.

The bot provided information on term dates, accommodation, the application process, the Leeds scene, and Clearing.

By analysing keywords, the bot could learn the courses prospective students wanted to attend and scan them for availability – cutting down a process that would usually be reliant on email, a letter or a phone call.

4) St. Tropez launches Thea the Tan Bot

Thea combined the instant gratification of a messenger bot with customer service, letting St. Tropez provide expert consultancy to inspire users to find their perfect tan.

Thea provides a step-by-step tanning consultation with a quick path to purchase based on three key decisions: prep time, desired shade and occasion. Thea then presents users with their perfect product and recommendations for further products to enhance their tanning regime.

5) Estée Lauder and ModiFace

Estée Lauder used augmented reality to entice customers to try its makeup on virtually via chatbots.

As a part of its partnership with ModiFace, the Toronto-based creator of AR technology for the beauty industry, Estée Lauder’s Facebook messenger chatbot gave its users the ability to virtually try on Estée Lauder’s Pure Colour lipsticks.

The chatbot featured the capability to search for and try on lip shades that match an individual’s skin tone. A quiz function gave recommendations for the correct shade based on ideal colours and finish preferences.

6) Maruti Suzuki and Isobar

Maruti Suzuki launched an integrated chatbot within a video ad banner, running on platforms like Firstpost, ESPN and Times of India .

The chatbot responded to user queries, educating them about the new Maruti Suzuki Dzire and redirecting them to the main website.

7) Zima in retro campaign

Zima’s comeback campaign featured a chatbot via Zima's Facebook Messenger, which has a wealth of Zima and 90s pop culture entertainment created in partnership with the IPG Media Lab.

8) Tfl

Transport for London launched its TravelBot to field customer service queries sent via social media.

The chatbot engaged in timetabling conversations with prospective travellers on Facebook Messenger, offering service updates, bus departure and arrival times, and travel maps.

For the service to work passengers must share their location or tap in a unique bus stop identifier.

9) National Geographic

National Geographic gave Facebook Messenger users the chance to chat with one of the species’ most celebrated minds to raise awareness of the launch of its new original series Genius that dissects the psyche of the physicist Albert Einstein.

The bot attempted to educate users about physics – and the release of its show on the National Geographic channel.

In Washington DC, the campaign was supported with targeted social posts area, contextual banner ads, programmatic buying, and a specially themed New York Times Crossword puzzle.

10) Heineken

As part of its Worlds Apart campaign, Heineken created a Facebook chatbot that connects ‘unexpectedly like-minded people from diverse backgrounds’.

Users needed to answer a few questions about their passions for the bot to create a personalised film that shows what they have in common with those they didn’t expect.

11) Match.com

Match.com launched what it describes as the first dating bot for Facebook Messenger in the UK.

The chatbot, called Lara, was programmed to help those on the lookout for a partner to create their profile on the dating site without having to leave Facebook.

The chatbot analysed up to 50 categories of criteria, including astrological signs, imperfections and hobbies to make suggestions.

Once a user’s profile has been set up, the bot will continue the conversation by asking what the user is looking for in a potential date. Analysing this information, it will recommend a series of different matches, with their profile image and basic information appearing in the Messenger conversation chain and a link through to their profile.

12) KLM

KLM passengers can now ask for directions to the nearest restaurant, clothes store, ATM, taxi rank and more by sending an emoji to the airline on its Messenger chatbot.

Users can simply send a burger emoji on the KLM Messenger chatbot, for instance, along with their location, and immediately get sent the location of the nearest burger joint in the area.

The service for was created by digital creative agency Code D'Azur.

In 2015 KLM became the first airline to bet on Facebook Messenger, offering the option to have booking confirmation and boarding passes sent via the platform as well as answer any queries. It was also the first airline to sign up to use Facebook’s developer tools that helped shape its Messenger chatbot product.

13) P&G

Procter & Gamble (P&G) used proprietary AI technology to create a Skin Advisor service for its Olay brand.

It uses artificial intelligence to help women learn more about their skin, what it needs and the right skincare products to help.

Users take a no-makeup selfie and then fill in a questionnaire about their current skincare regimen.

You can read more about chatbots here.

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