Driving Consumer Engagement using a Facebook ChatBot

December 11, 2017

I just got back from four glorious days in Mauritius for a work vacation! My days were spent gazing into the turquoise blue ocean, swimming with the fish and sipping on island cocktails – all the stereotypical things they show us in the tourism advertisements! This refreshing time enabled me to reflect on the digital work we have done in Mauritius this year, as we launched Coke Studio Africa for the first time on the Island.

We deployed a Facebook ChatBot for our under the crown promotion that was running as part of the Coke Studio Africa show.  The ChatBot was created to enable consumers, through a on a one to one exchange, to redeem codes found under the Coca-Cola bottles for prizes. We launched the Chabot in Mauritius, a country with a population of 1.28 and an Internet penetration of 63% and a monthly active user base on Facebook of 720,000 or 60% of the country’s population! (Source: Digital in 2017: Hootsuite We are Social). Yes, Mauritians love their Facebook, but that a story for another day.

The idea to use the ChatBot in the promotion came by quite by accident. The under the crown promotion we were launching had a menu of prizes. We wanted the consumer to be able to select their desired prize from a menu of options. The best way to do that would be through a USSD menu and so we designed the consumer journey with that in mind. As this promotion was set to run in 8 markets in Africa, we knew USSD would be a key platform as consumers are familiar with USSD menus for their day to day activities such as airtime recharge or mobile banking.

To our surprise, USSD menus are not available through the mobile network operators in Mauritius. The only platform available was SMS but this made the consumer journey very long and expensive. Imagine how many SMS would need to be sent to just get a consumer to select which prize they want from a full menu of options.

We partnered with Reply.ai, an enterprise level bot building and management platform that scales 1:1 communication, to do a pilot using Mauritius as the learning. We intend to scale this to other countries based for our future promotions. Watch this space!

How the ChatBot works:

When a consumer buys a Coca-Cola product, they receive a unique code to redeem digital prizes from Coke’s flagship TV and Online show on the continent, Coke Studio Africa.  This code unlocks access to exclusive music content that is teen centric and uniquely African, packaged as playlists and ring back tones suitable for mobile consumption.  In most sub-Saharan markets, code redemption relies on traditional mobile platforms such as SMS, which are expensive for consumers due to the long consumer journey. Through Reply.ai’s chatbot, Coca-Cola in Mauritius is able to create one-on-one meaningful engagements with consumers who participate in the promotion.

The chatbot experience is mostly guided, with the ability for users to ask open-ended questions about the redemption process and select from a menu of items, giving consumers more control over what they redeem than ever before. Reply.ai’s bot is being rolled out over Facebook Messenger, a fertile frontier in the sub-saharan African market.

Watch the video on how it works  Here



  1. Maina Wambugu - May 7, 2020 at 5:17 pm - Reply

    A very Educative piece.

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