OMD AI Hackathon: Exploring Google Assistant Applications

In May, OMD EMEA partnered with Google to test initial concepts in a fast-paced environment, assessing their possibilities and pitfalls for further development with feedback from a consumer focus group.

Four teams participated in the two-day event, gaining knowledge around implementing Google Assistant solutions for brands. Google provided teams with guidance around their current capabilities and conversational AI design. Each team explored a unique use case which they brought to life in a prototype, taking advantage of additional integration opportunities and planning for common failure states.

Taking a people-first approach, we conducted a consumer focus group to test the teams’ ideas with six participants selected based on a number of factors including age, family and technology adoption. The consumer workshop focused on unearthing opinions on the formation and potential of the ideas and innovations, rather than their final form functionality. The users were surprised and excited by the variety of use cases and new experiences they offered.

Brief Overview of the Concepts Explored

Meet Sasha, your own personal hair stylist assistant. No more bad hair days – get customised hairstyle recommendations and step by step guidance, so you can be your BEST you!

  • Provides personalised suggestion based on uploaded photos
  • Enjoyed the pause after each instruction, waiting to be told to go to the next step
  • The time estimates and items needed is unique and a great addition

Meet Indi, a trendsetter and expert that will help you find your own self expression through clothing customisation. Get access to limited edition items, discounts and exclusive experiences. She also collects ideas and experiences from all the social platforms to help you form the best ideas.

  • Fun, strong personality
  • The customisation aspect is unique and stands out
  • Great way to feel closer to the brand and augment in-store visits

Meet the Configurator, your personalised car configuration assistant making the process of finding the perfect vehicle easier. Get the most relevant information and advice to customise your perfect vehicle.

  • Different personality options for different types of consumers
  • Provides adds an extra way to get information
  • A configuration summary to enhance the dealership experience

Meet Dino Adventures, the learning and development action for kids making reading more fun and exciting.

  • Built around busy moments that could become additional family time
  • Alternative to an iPad, enjoyed that it isn’t screen based
  • Open to being recorded to add increased interactivity with the experience

Key Consumer Themes

Consumers are Open to AI interactions

All of the consumers in the focus group had used a smart speaker, but they didn’t all own a device. They felt comfortable with smart speakers recording interactions as long as they were clear on when and how the interaction adds value or functionality in return. They also wanted control functionality to change features and turn settings on and off.

Set Expectations Early

It is important to set expectations early, as consumers are very excited about these new interactions. As a result, they are finding many current activations underwhelming because they can’t do as much as expected. Consider starting with a narrow-focus and building out from there. Be very specific about what it can and can’t do.

The group also talked about how assistants are becoming very realistic. One consumer referred to a recent experience stating:

I was dealing with a bot recently and it was scarily real. For a second, I forgot I was talking to a bot. It was weird. It was like he was almost interacting with me – the way I asked questions and stuff. I felt comfortable, but it was just that moment where I remembered I was talking to a robot.

Sharing Data has Become the Norm

Consumers are more accepting of sharing their data in order to sign-up for a product or service. However, a consumer described the situations as a catch-22 saying:

I just have come to accept it. I think there is lots changing with GDPR now and who is holding your data. There is a trust element, you would like to think they are not sharing your data.”

Child-Friendly AI

The consumers didn’t like the idea of having a smart speaker in a child’s room. They discussed how it was an expensive device to have in a child’s room. However, they enjoyed how experiences could evolve with the child.

Parental-controls was an important feature discussed. They thought it was an immense amount of freedom to give to a child on their own. The group also wanted to be able to set time limits on the amount of time a child could spend with experiences.


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Chelsea Horncastle

Senior Insight & Business Development Manager at OMD EMEA

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