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Chatbot Raises 1 Million Laughs for Comic Relief

Product used: fully custom chatbot.

Unilever wanted something original for Red Nose Day 2017: to bring PG tips' 'Most Famous Monkey' alive and have him tell people jokes to generate one million laughs. Not only did they need a company to create a conversational artificial intelligence in the Monkey persona, they also needed the infrastructure to manage the high number of messages required to meet this goal.

Unilever came to ubisend to design and build a chatbot on Facebook Messenger, one that would reflect Monkey's unique personality and wit. Through the development of a bespoke language matrix to create 215 AI-driven conversation topics, Monkey came alive. Alongside this, ubisend rolled out a hardware infrastructure able to send 150 messages per second, without breaking a sweat.

Dealing with a million laughs for Comic Relief

PG tips, a Unilever brand, has been a pillar of the British culture since its creation in the 1930s. From Arthur Brooke's original "Pre-Gest-Tea" to today's Pyramid® PG tips, they have had one mission: to be the people of Britain's number one tea supplier.

In 2017, Unilever and PG tips once again supported Comic Relief's charity event: Red Nose Day. Over the course of six weeks, culminating on the 24th of March (the official Red Nose Day), the goal was to raise laughs all over the UK as well as drive donations to help over 2,000 projects across the UK.

Monkey will finally have an online persona that people can interact with. With AI it is possible for him to have individual conversations with his supporters so that we can reach our target of one million laughs.

In late December 2016, Collider, a London-based creative agency, came to ubisend with the idea of creating the AI-driven chatbot for PG tips' Monkey. When we heard about the project, we knew we were going to achieve something unique.

In under three weeks, we had a functioning AI Monkey ready for testing. After a further three weeks of AI training, we released a chatbot that can interact across 215 AI-driven conversation topics. Everything from telling jokes to discussing Comic Relief's charity work.

The speed of development and depth of artificial intelligence was not all ubisend achieved. Due to the high profile of the brands involved, we knew Monkey was going to have to manage a large volume of conversations.

To ensure Monkey would be online and delivering a million laughs 24 hours a day, we developed and maintained a scalable infrastructure allowing us to reach the target (and more) without failure.

PG tips chatbot success

Love and praise from the press and industry leaders

We are extremely proud of the work we have done. Luckily for us, the industry and the press loved the work we have done too! Below are a few of the reviews and snippets we got from them.

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"ubisend’s fresh and enthusiastic approach to the task left us in no doubt that we had picked the ideal strategic partners to work with"

Chris Amos, project manager at Archant Limited