Casper’s New Low-Tech Chatbot for Insomniacs - Dispatch Weekly

September 26, 2016 - Reading time: 4 minutes

Casper, the retailer and company based on the culture of sleep, has created a new low-tech chatbot that accompanies insomniacs by offering an automated and personalized text service between 11:00pm and 5:00am.

How Does the Service Work?

Once the bot gets a text it chooses the best response by identifying keywords, generating over 2,000 different responses.

Casper’s vp of communication said, “It really helps us tell our brand story,” adding, “As a company, we not only produce great products but also create great experiences and conversations around sleep, whether through Van Winkle’s or this late night chatbot.”

Casper, unlike other bots employed by companies, uses conversational speech and recognizes phrases such as “What’s up?”

Gabe Whaley, founder and CEO of Mschf said, “With SMS, we are able to create seemingly real interactions to address a common late night emotion: loneliness.”

How was Insomnobot3000 made?

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A 10-person team in the tech, data, design and creative departments made Insomnobot3000 to help lonely sleepers.

Test groups started with Casper employees, expanding into friends of friends.

Insomnobot3000 talked to subjects without them knowing it was a bot, asking for feedback afterwards.

It was found that insomniacs talked about the same topics including: work stress, entertainment distractions, weekend plans and coffee.

Universally Friendly Subjects and Smarter Child

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By using algorithms the bot is able to speak in a “universally friendly” way, appealing to a wide variety of users.

The developers also looked at Smarter child, the AOL Instant Messenger-based bot made in the early 2000s.

The chatbot does not use machine learning but it is constantly being improved by developers, collecting more data on what people like and dislike about the bot.

Casper’s Previous Viral Marketing Stunt

Earlier this year Casper made Late Night Snap Hacks, a website that provided 10 pre-made scenes from live concert events and taxi rides that customers could record on their phones and then share on Snapchat, as if they were at the real event.

Within the first two days the site attracted 200,000 users.

Casper made $100 million in sales in 2015 and is estimated to generate $200 million this year.

At present, the chatbot is free but there is a potential for ads and promotions to be sent to individuals on their phones.

Would you talk to a chatbot if you couldn’t sleep at night?

DW Staff

David Lintott is the Editor-in-Chief, leading our team of talented freelance journalists. He specializes in covering culture, sport, and society. Originally from the decaying seaside town of Eastbourne, he attributes his insightful world-weariness to his roots in this unique setting.