HP Enterprise took a Quartz ad and turned it into a news bot

  • HP Enterprise has rolled out a chatbot on Facebook Messenger that delivers innovation news and also touts the company.
  • Called Hugo, the bot was developed by Quartz Creative and DigitasLBi, and first trialled on Quartz’s website.

Wondering how cloud computing works? You could just go and tap Hugo.

Hugo is a chatbot that helps users learn about the latest innovations in fields such as financial services, healthcare, retail and energy. The bot, developed by Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Quartz’s creative services unit and agency DigitasLBi, made its debut on Facebook Messenger today. Users can start a conversation with Hugo by sending a Facebook message to HPE

Scores of brands have chatbots, with a majority of them being used for customer service. But Hugo doubles up as both a marketing effort as well as a product demo, said Marissa Freeman, HPE’s chief brand officer. The aim is to engage potential customers — whether they are just learning about the company or mulling a purchase — by pulling them in based on a topic they may be interested in and ultimately leading them to buy a product.

“HPE stands for innovation and we want to make sure it is what we continue to stand for moving forward as well,” she told Business Insider. “Hugo reaches everyone on that marketing continuum, and seamlessly directs you to the point where you’re ready to make an actual purchase.”

First conceptualized in March of this year, Hugo has evolved into its current form on Facebook Messenger after previous iterations. Back in July, for example, Hugo was literally embedded into custom native display ads that were served around a sponsored editorial series that Quartz and HPE ran together on the publisher called “Machines with Brains
,” which highlighted how technology and artificial intelligence intersect with humanity.

Thanks to built in artificial intelligence capabilities, the more Hugo chatted with people, the smarter it became, according to HPE. Every conversation helped Hugo to become better at interpreting open-text requests and prompts.

These ad experiments helped the team customise the bot based on user insights, leading to its current incarnation on Facebok Messenger. And that ideally means Hugo’s tone is more similar to your smart, helpful friend, rather than a bot.

“It is someone that wants to learn from you as much as you want to learn from him,” said Michael Dolan, Quartz Creative’s creative director. “It is never snarky or sarcastic.”

According to Sean Mahoney, VP group director at DigitasLBi, Facebook Messenger was the next obvious home for Hugo for it to achieve scale.

“Audiences don’t seek out information the same way they used to anymore,” Mahoney said. “And Facebook Messenger is a platform that people are already on.”

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