The winter holidays are long gone, but that doesn’t mean we have to stop being cheery or spirited! Hotels.com recently launched a chatbot on Facebook Messenger which features their mascot, Captain Obvious, challenging you to a rousing game of charades. For every victory, you get a a discount and by collecting victories can win up to £500 in Hotels.com vouchers.
Captain Obvious has been around since 2014 and made his UK debut last year. The joke, of course, is that Hotels.com helps you find the obvious travel choices. When playing the Obvious Charades game against the Hotels.com bot, you’re given a category that’s either a film, book, or theatre. From there, you’re given the number of words in the title and then a main clue. All of this is communicated mostly through GIFs, which is an inventive and clever use of the medium—especially with a character as animated and silly as Captain Obvious.
The owner of Botkit Studio, Howdy, produced the campaign in a partnership with Crispin Porter & Bogusky. David Carr and Martin Millers created the chatbot and Chun Tung led the UX. In a statement to Campaign, digital brand manager Vincenzo Bruno says that the Obvious Charades is different from other chatbots, as they saw it as “a chance to flex our creative muscles, use new technology in a divergent—purely fun—way, whilst still riding the waves of latest digital marketing trends.”
Using a game that doesn’t have much to do with traveling and tourism is definitely a divergent choice, but works much better than a lot of the bots that only stick to dialogue within their genre. For instance, we often find ourselves fast-forwarding through bot conversations just to get to that final voucher because they’re dull and full of information we might already know. In contrast, Obvious Charades is an enjoyable encounter that presents the voucher as a real prize, rather than a chore you have to slug through for discounts.
In our game, Captain Obvious gave a film with three words, and a “mane clue.” The answer, of course, was The Lion King. The charades make you think for a second, but they’re never so difficult that you become frustrated or angry. For every correct guess, Captain Obvious even gives you an encouraging thumbs up or celebratory GIF. It is impossible to get through this bot without smiling!
What do you think about the Hotels.com bot on Facebook. Have you played Obvious Charades against Captain Obvious? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.