How chatbot marketing brought a supernatural exhibition to digital life

Flagship gallery in New South Wales took a punt on its audience embracing a new exhibition through Facebook Messenger

Takashi Murakami: Japan Supernatural
Takashi Murakami: Japan Supernatural
  • Takashi Murakami: Japan Supernatural
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The Art Gallery of NSW is looking to bring more engaging mobile capability to future exhibitions following the use of a chatbot that put its Japan Supernatural exhibition right into the hands of potential visitors.

The Gallery worked with Yarnly AI to create a Facebook Messenger chatbot which encouraged visitors to engage with the artworks of Takashi Murakami in its recent Japan Supernatural exhibition. It represented a departure for the Gallery in the way it engaged with its audience in a personal, interactive fashion using a chatbot on Facebook Messenger - developing its relationship with social media followers beyond the usual social channels.

Art Gallery of New South Wales marketing partnerships officer, Svetlana Chernin, explained to CMO how using a chatbot extends the creative story of the exhibition.

“Fiendish goblins and mischievous shapeshifters abound in our Japan Supernatural exhibition, and Japan’s folktales have manifested through the latest technology for centuries, whether that’s woodblock printing in the 1700s or anime in the 20th century. We wanted to bring some of the legendary stories and characters to life using a chatbot, allowing us to engage with new and existing audiences in a playful and creative way,” Chernin said.

Art Gallery NSWCredit: Art Gallery NSW
Art Gallery NSW

The gallery expected its audience for this exhibition would skew younger, which meant towards the more digitally-engaged visitor than other exhibitions. Seeing an opportunity to try something new and different, it joined forces with Yarnly.ai, a full-size chatbot and voice agency, which supports new channels of communication through new and emerging technology.  

The pivot to developing a chatbot on Facebook Messenger was the changing behaviour of social media users Chernin said. 

“Audiences want to engage and communicate with the content that resonates, but they want to do it in a private environment. This allows the user to authentically engage and not feel on public display,”  they said. “With the 1:1 private experience of Facebook Messenger showing an average 4-8x higher engagement rate than email, it looked like the perfect storytelling opportunity with imaginative gamification options.”

Read more: 7 businesses successfully implementing chatbots

To replicate the lively parade of creatures in the Japan Supernatural exhibition, the team created several different pieces of engaging content in the chatbot. These not only allowed them to bring some of the characters to life, but also gave them a new digital avenue in which viewers can engage in their own personal way. 

It included a personality quiz and competition to find out which of the yōkai (Japanese supernatural beings) the audience felt they were most aligned with. To bring to life the stories of yūrei (ghosts) and legendary figures, they also added bite-size, text-based traditional tales.

“The campaign has shown a significant increase in engagement, positive user experience and reach in comparison to traditional social media advertising. And it turns out our audiences mostly identify with trickster kitsune foxes and impish kappa water demons,” Chernin said.

Art Gallery NSWCredit: Art Gallery NSW
Art Gallery NSW

Chatbot marketing provided not just better engagement and a personalised experience, it also provided rich customer feedback and data with the option to expand into more customer service fields with 24/7 responses.

It has proved such a successful experience, the Gallery is planning new forays into chatbot marketing.

Read more: What not to do when building chatbots and voice-based brand interactions

“We’re currently exploring how we might incorporate our chatbot into our communications strategy for the Archibald Prize – so watch this space,” the spokesperson said.

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