People are intrigued by robots, but they don’t really think of how the machines can be incorporated into daily life. Tech company Double Robotics wanted to clearly demonstrate the benefit of its double telepresence robot, which allows a user to remotely maneuver it and interact with the outside world via video and audio.
The company had a tight budget and very little brand awareness. Agency Atomic 212 Group, however, helped Double Robotics piggyback (robot-back?) onto an event that was garnering global attention: the launch of Apple’s iPhone 6s. It had a robot wait on line outside the Apple store in Sydney, Australia, to become the first purchaser of an iPhone 6s. And because its time zone meant Sydney was the first Apple store in the world to release the iPhone 6s, Lucy the Robot became the first iPhone 6s buyer in the world.
The robots that have most captured the public’s attention—Robby the Robot, R2D2 and C3PO, Wall-E—had engaging personalities. With that in mind, the human Lucy (an Atomic 212 employee) operating Lucy the robot was an energetic, friendly young woman. It was her telegenic face that Lucy the Robot presented via the video screen atop its Segway-like body and her appealing voice that spoke via the robot in conversations with passersby and other Apple fans while the robot traveled from Lucy the human’s office to the Apple store, waited on line, and completed its purchase.
Using Lucy the Robot to be the first to buy an iPhone 6s enabled Double Robotics to share in the Brobdingnagian buzz of the Apple release, but it provided other appreciable benefits too. It demonstrated a real-life application of what’s generally considered a sci-fi fantasy (how many times have you wished for a robot to run errands and wait on line for you?); it was relevant to the target market of early tech adopters and consumers 18-35 years old; and it basked in the halo of the iPhone’s ”cool” factor.
People waiting on the queue and passing by the Apple store were understandably eager to chat with, take selfies with, and post pictures on their social media feeds of Lucy the Robot, which certainly helped spread the word. Atomic 212 subsequently shared the photos on its own Facebook page, amplifying the coverage. The robot also commanded the attention of the converged media covering the iPhone 6s launch. Lucy the Robot featured in 4,000 digital, print, and broadcast stories worldwide in 32 languages, reaching 123 million people and racking up an estimated $73.2 million in media value. Coverage appeared everywhere from The Australian to Mashable, from the London Mirror to the Today show. What’s more, the Apple store’s PR team reached out to have Lucy the Robot become part of its own marketing effort, inviting it to a red-carpet event and featuring it in onsite videos.
Once Lucy the Robot had rolled back to Lucy the human’s office, iPhone 6s in a bag hanging from its “neck,” Atomic 212 and Double Robotics got to work capitalizing on the buzz. Targeting specific businesses and business title, Double Robotics explained how they could benefit from their own robots and created a social media campaign across business-focused social platforms such as LinkedIn. No longer an unknown brand, Double Robotics received 12,452 enquiries within 72 hours and nearly $44.8 million in sales opportunities. Brand recall soared 780%; brand favorability, 1,200%.
And of course, Lucy the human scored an iPhone 6s without having to wait out in the rain or miss a day of work.