Six high school friends are video chatting one night when they receive a bizarre Skype message from a classmate. The message is from Laura Barnes. Which is weird, because she killed herself over a year ago.
Thinking the messages are pranks or a technical glitches, the students initially ignore them. When the girl starts revealing their darkest, most terrible secrets, they realize to their horror she’s a supernatural force who wants them dead.
So goes the premise of Unfriended, a horror movie released by Universal Studios in April of 2015. Instead of relying solely on movie trailers and video views, Universal teamed up with Imperson, a conversational AI platform, to create a far more compelling experience: a Laura Barnes bot that engaged with users from the grave.
The Imperson team set up a hyperrealistic Facebook page for Laura Barnes and engaged in conversations with over half of the movie’s Facebook Page followers. Conversations spanned over a remarkable 33 hours on average, and about a quarter of the users told friends about their bot interactions.
Those statistics prove Imperson’s theory that “young audiences seek more authentic ways to communicate and they value personalized and entertaining experiences that adapt in real-time.”
Did you chat with the undead Laura Barnes? Was it scary or creepy or compelling? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!