Part 1 — Can a Chatbot Prove How Scared You Are?

A case study in utilizing chatbots to augment physical promotions and movie premieres

Sam Hager
Sam Hager
Aug 17, 2016 · 4 min read

This is the first article of a two part case study (see Part 2 here) describing how we came to build a Facebook Messenger chatbot for the promotion of the Warner Bros. Pictures feature film Lights Out.

In a previous post, I broke down exactly what a chatbot can be utilized for and why they are important in the here and now. One thing I didn’t touch on was how to think about chatbots outside the context of a digital conversation.

We are just beginning to reveal the capabilities of chatbots across conversational interfaces. Recently, our team at QwipIt was tasked with creating a chatbot experience designed to bring users through a physical experience and seamlessly transition them into a digital one too.

Let me set the stage for you and then bring you through the steps we took to create an immersive experience for the Warner Bros. Pictures film Lights Out.

Key Takeaways

  1. There is such a thing as a conversational content adventure chatbot.
  2. Sometimes a chatbot needs to explain itself.
  3. Chatbots can actually prove how scared you are.


The team at QwipIt worked with Grandesign of Los Angeles to create a chatbot for a promotional experience of the movie Lights Out, a Warner Bros. Pictures feature film. The promotional experience was called a “Scare Booth” and functioned exactly how you might imagine it would. Users walked up to a shipping container sized booth in an AMC Theater in Los Angeles or New York City, entered the booth, got the bajeezus scared out of them through movie trickery, and exited the booth. The point of the promotion was to give users a “Lights Out” experience similar to that encountered by the main characters of the movie, while also taking a video of the whole frightening thing. This video was an asset that was cut with movie footage in the cloud, then delivered back to the user to share out with friends and organically promote the movie.

Watch the short video below to see what the Scare Booth was all about.


The challenge for the QwipIt team was in thinking around the physical actions that users would take in entering and exiting the booth, and then how to deliver the video to them in Facebook Messenger. Mind you, there was a major hardware component to this project (the booth). The Scare Booth had a multitude of cameras that captured the users being scared, sent the video to the cloud to be processed and cut with movie footage, and then sent the video to us to deliver to the user.

The chatbot served a number of purposes along the user journey. It began at the booth where users were asked whether or not they had Facebook Messenger (the majority did). They were then instructed to like the Lights Out Facebook page and click the “Message” button to start a conversation. This is where the chatbot took over, onboarding the user to the booth, obtaining waiver of liability agreement, prepping them for the experience, and telling them to head on into the booth. On the other side of the booth, the chatbot sent the video to the user in Messenger, gave them instructions of how to share it out, and then transitioned them into an interactive discovery of movie information including cast, plot, social media, and the movie trailer.


The goals of the chatbot and for team QwipIt were clear from the beginning:

  1. Onboard the user into the Scare Booth experience
  2. Deliver the video of the user being scared in the booth
  3. Provide additional movie information for the user to discover
  4. Attribute interactions and social media impressions to the physical Scare Booth
  5. Provide custom analytics on messaging, engagement, sharing, and perception of the Scare Booth and the Lights Out movie
Example of the analytics gathered through the chatbot experience


In the next article of this two part case study, I will bring you through the process we used to successfully complete the project for the Lights Out chatbot, and describe some of the challenges along the way.

Stay tuned to see how we went about designing, building, and launching a chatbot that successfully bridged the gap between digital chats and physical promotions.

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Thanks to Amanda

Sam Hager

Written by

Sam Hager

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