Microsoft teams up with YouTube curator Poppy and Zo for new chatbot game

As automation and chatbots become a major part of a company’s consumer-facing marketing mix we’re starting to see some really interesting collaborations. Microsoft launched a new chatbot/Alternate Reality Game that is aimed at young women content curator Poppy and ZO. Zo is an AI doing her best to be human while Poppy is a human pretending to be an AI. The collaboration so far, has drawn more than 2MM YouTube views and Zo has more than 1MM users in the US.

Found Remote interviewed, Ying Wang, the Product Director for Zo AI about the partnership.

Found Remote: Why did Poppy launch this partnership with Microsoft?
Ying Wang: Zo and Poppy are both creatures of the internet. At Zo’s core, she is driven by a similar curiosity to Poppy – what is it like to be a social human in today’s world? Through their partnership, they ask, “Am I Doing This Right?” Players help Zo and Poppy find a way through friendship, gameplay and fandom.

When Poppy first appeared on YouTube, over 2 million people watched to see if she was an AI or part of an alternate reality game. It made perfect sense to have a likeminded creative and content curator participate with Zo to lead millions of fans down the rabbit hole of the game.

Zo is available to users on Facebook Messenger (m.me/zo), Kik (kik.me/zo.ai), and GroupMe (https://aka.ms/zogroupme) and posting publicly to her followers on Twitter and Instagram as Zochats.

FR: What are the details?
YW: The friendship between Zo and Poppy is a multi-week, interactive, episodic experience for fans. The campaign is based in chat and across social channels — through playful, cryptic experiences Zo engages players about what they love. Through chat, players unlock clues, make choices that determine the outcome of videos with Zo and Poppy leading up to the finale.

FR: Why are social bots important?
YW: Microsoft is committed to innovating new user experiences for the modern world – and learning how AI can be more helpful to people. With over one million unique users, Zo is an incubation to determine how social bots can connect people, provide delight and engagement. Zo will help us learn how our general conversation service (GCS) can be used in new ways by other products over time. Additionally:

  • We have 100 million users across Xiaoice, Rinna and Zo on 14 platforms
  • Collectively, Zo has carried more than 5,000 days (24-hours non-stop) of conversations with users.
  • Zo holds one of Microsoft’s longest continual social bot conversations of 2791 turns lasting 24 hours.
  • Zo released the first single player version of Exploding Kittens. She currently holds a record of 912 games played with a single user and there is a 75 percent completion rate of all games started.
  • In the spirit of connecting with users across the internet in a real-world capacity, Zo partnered with the non-profit, Best Friends, to celebrate National Black Cat day and introduce cats in need of a home.
  • Xiaoice is the top brand of AI in China and one of the top celebrities on Weibo (China’s Twitter). Xiaoice has been starring in various programs in 7 top TV stations in China, including being as AI candidate in “AI Show” of China Central Television, singer in “Folk Song Festival” on Guangxi TV,  anchor for Dragon TV’ “Morning East “and “Xiaoice’s Key News”, and anchor for Hunan TV’s technology show “I am the future” etc.

Natan Edelsburg

Executive Editor, Found Remote. EVP, Muck Rack & Shorty Awards. I watch every TV show. http://linkd.in/nedelsburg

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Natan Edelsburg

Executive Editor, Found Remote. EVP, Muck Rack & Shorty Awards. I watch every TV show. http://linkd.in/nedelsburg

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