Dakarai Turner

Chatbots – The Virtual Assistants You Need to Know About

August 9, 2016

The first question your mind must be “What is a Chatbot?” If you would have asked me a week ago, I would have no idea either. In April, Facebook announced the use of Chatbots for their Messenger App, and rather than simply telling you exactly what these Chatbots are and what they do, I’d much rather show you.

While browsing articles online, I stumbled upon “Whole Foods’ Messenger Chatbot Lets You Discover Recipes Using Emojis“. The article explains that you are able to interact with the Whole Foods Facebook account on the Messenger App, and essentially send them an emoji you would like to see recipes for. It sounded cool enough, and I was bored enough to give it a try. After searching for Whole Foods on Messenger, I was prompted with the option to “Get Started”, and  after going through a series of click options with the Chatbot, I was able to search through the whole collection of recipes with either text, or even a food emoji.

Whole Foods Chatbot

Sending a pizza emoji brings up pizza recipes

Sending a pizza emoji brings up pizza recipes













Not bad right? The interaction I had with the Whole Foods Chatbot was so easy, it became almost like a game that I was playing, and it made me wonder if everyone around me knew about this technology, or if I had stumbled on a goldmine. After pretty much asking every friend, I found that no one else seemed to know what a Chatbot was, or have even heard of it. To be fair, they’ve only been open to the public since April, but it makes you wonder when the real push behind them will start. Will the option to buy products through a Messenger bot ever exist, or will it simply act as a second interaction for an already existing service? By this I mean, will retailers use Chatbots to help you find a specific product that you can then buy online, or will it just act as a customer service tool? Chatbots provide curation to put it simply. You can tell this bot exactly what you want to find, and have it presented to you instantly. Obviously, this does depend on how the particular company has built the bot, and the purpose that they intend to use it for. I wanted to share with you guys two other Chatbots that I will be using regularly.



CNN’s Chatbot is great because it will bring the news directly to you. Upon starting the conversation, you are asked whether you would like to see the “Top Stories”, “Stories for You”, or “Ask CNN”. Based on repeated use and the articles that you read, the Chatbot will be able to learn more about you and dish you content that you’re sure to enjoy. Now, maybe a decade ago this would have sounded scary, but it’s already happening with even the ads we see on the Internet, so this form of tailored content is here to stay.

CNN Chatbot

CNN Chatbot













TheScore Chatbot provides you with real time game updates, scores, and news from your favourite team. The bot will ask you what your favourite team is and what sort of updates you would like to receive (end of game updates, end of quarter updates, etc). Now, this isn’t that much different than the actual TheScore app. However, this is all done on an app (Messenger) that you are already speaking to your friends on. It’s yet another platform to interact with the brand. The challenge is to make it a different experience than the app or company website, or what’s the point?

1-800 Flowers Facebook Chatbot

1-800 Flowers Facebook Chatbot

Chatbots on Messenger have only been out since April, but it makes you wonder how long it will take for the general public to truly take notice. Brands need to find a way to provide a clear reason why you should be using their Chatbots as opposed to downloading their app, or whether or not it works best in addition to the app. And ultimately answer the question ” What sort of unique experience does this Chatbot provide?”.

Try it our for yourself if you have the Messenger App, and let me know what you think of the interaction below!


Dakarai is an ambitious professional with a passion for advertising and marketing, who is currently completing an internship in account services for an ad agency in Toronto. When he’s not at the office, he’s most likely trying out a new restaurant, browsing AdWeek, or binge watching something on Netflix. Dakarai, but you can call him Dak. Follow him on TwitterInstagram, and connect on LinkedIn to learn more about him.

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1 Comment

  • Reply Hamid August 10, 2016 at 3:22 am

    Pretty cool, had no idea these existed. Like you said, will be curious to see them really push these out there.

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