MoonPie Built a Chatty 'MoonMate' Bot to Keep You Company at Home

Brand brings its fun Twitter voice to Alexa

With confinement dragging on, are you looking to interact with someone other than your mom on Zoom? Someone who has the witty repartee of, say, MoonPie's Twitter persona?

Well, you are in luck, my lonely friend. Meet MoonMate, a virual roomate created by agency Tombras for MoonPie, its longtime snack-brand client. Tombras has taken the famous MoonPie brand voice it developed on Twitter and brought it to the world of voice assistants—in the form of an Alexa skill. To launch it, tell your Alexa smart speaker or mobile app: "Alexa, launch MoonPie MoonMate."

Here's an intro video:

Jeff Benjamin, chief creative officer at Tombras, says the MoonMate "hints at the future of conversational content and commerce, where a brand's A.I. and voice are its soul." The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated adoption of such technologies, he adds, as people seek new ways of connecting in isolation.

Tombras says MoonMate can "carry on a conversation for days," answering thousands of your questions and even suggesting new things to talk about. Among other things, MoonMate will ... 

● Pay you rent (in the form of MoonPies) 
● Avoid doing chores and other at-home activities 
● Give you way too much information about its life 
● Try as hard as it can to keep you inside 
● Offer prompted and unprompted MoonPie facts, history, recipes, and more 
● Make you laugh and keep you entertained with conversation 
● Compliment your wardrobe so much you'll wonder if it's going to steal your clothes 
● Talk about MoonPie social media lore like Linda, MoonPie child, and the MoonPie social media manager 
● Ponder space and other celestial marvels 
● Answer popular Alexa questions about the weather, stocks, math problems 
● And more…

"Three years ago, we took a 100-year-old CPG snack cake and personified it on Twitter," says Dooley Tombras, president at Tombras. "And now we're taking that distinct brand voice from that two-dimensional world and bringing it to a multi-dimensional audio experience and another level of brand engagement. In typical MoonPie fashion, it's totally bizarre and homegrown, but it's a great example of nascent technology getting integrated with everyday life to solve a problem."

The project was inspired in part by a Mayo Clinic report about research suggesting laughter helps boost immunity.

"When everyone went into quarantine and started social distancing, we could immediately feel the loneliness and isolation," says Benjamin. "MoonPie has always been a bit of a jester and voice of levity, so the brand's purpose was a natural starting point helping people through distancing, isolation and quarantine."

"We know how hard being stuck inside and distant from loved ones has been for everyone," adds Tory Johnston, vp of sales and marketing for MoonPie. "Our goal for MoonMate was to create conversations with a sense of empathy and understanding, all while staying true to the brand."

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Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd is editor in chief of the Clio Awards and founding editor of Muse by Clio. Prior to joining Clio in 2018, he was creative editor at Adweek.

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