Are Bots Taking Over Adland?

Last year McCann Japan hired a robot creative director. Now SapientRazorfish says it will use a chatbot—who goes by the name “Billi”--to interview potential junior job candidates.

Hmmm, first the creative department, now HR. It makes you wonder how long humans will hold any jobs in Adland!

John Casey, global head of media relations, SapientRazorfish says “Billi” is a different, more probing kind of chatbot (at least in one area) with a personality no less.

"There are some chat bot 'interviews' out there, but they predominately ask for basic information, like name, rank and serial number," says Casey. "We didn’t want to do that. Instead, we wanted to produce something special — a chat bot with a personality and one that would interact with junior candidates on a subject that most of them dialog with on a daily basis, Snapchat.”

The interview, which is optional, consists of identifying the candidate’s Snapchat personality via a Buzzfeed-type Q&A. At the conclusion of the interview, and based on the candidate’s Snapchat personality, “Billi” suggests where the interviewee might best fit into the Publicis-owned organization, along with other position options.



 “Billi’s” sense of humor makes for a quirky interview style, says Casey. The bot asks questions like 'What does your typical Snap story look like?' and 'What’s your favorite Snapchat filter?'

The project's origin was sparked when the agency was kicking around some ideas about using creative technology that the company develops for clients in a way that might help attract talent. "Chat bot and AI creation is one of our strengths, and we thought it might be cool to create one to interact, in an engaging way with new talent, specifically, junior talent, who are more inclined to be comfortable interacting with one," says Casey. 

Lots of staff worked on the project including people (actual humans!) from the shop’s AI, branding, creative and HR departments.  The project manager was Briana Lion from the marketing team who was also primarily responsible for helping shape “Billi’s” voice.

SapientRazorfish is hoping to roll “Billi” out globally to its other regions in the next couple months, and may consider extending the platform to help other companies develop a meaningful chat bot interview experience.

Yeah, they’re taking over. Just a matter of time.

1 comment about "Are Bots Taking Over Adland?".
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  1. Neilan Tyree from The Propeller Group, May 23, 2017 at 10:26 a.m.

    Wow. Reading this and realized it was published the same day Bob Garfield inked his LAST column seems more than a little ironic. 

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