To mark the 70th anniversary of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) in Brazil, the organization created a unique online service. With teen drinking on the rise, it wanted to create a modern way to broaden its services to the public, especially young adults. The result was Anonymous Friend, the first-ever Facebook chatbot that helps people with alcoholism.
Objective and Context:
Teens in Brazil are beginning to drink earlier and in larger quantities. However, while alcoholism has increased, asking for help and information is not something they’re aware of. AA sought to help teens with drinking problems and increase awareness among them with a Facebook chatbot.
The target was teens with alcoholism all over Brazil. The group created a campaign that brings AA close to teens, so they can look for help without being ashamed of it, in a private and wide-reaching way.
The campaign used AA members’ real stories to create a bond with users, just like in meetings. AA recorded over 20 hours of interviews with members to capture their stories, their anxieties, and the words that helped them during the treatment. These interviews filled the flow of conversations in the chatbot in a sensitive and personalized way, making the bot appear to be more human and sensitive to these serious issues. For every question, there was an answer from someone who knew exactly how a person with a drinking problem felt. From the 12 steps of recovery to general information, all content was made to guide people to a nearby group.
Overall Campaign Execution:
AA implemented the idea over a four-month period using Facebook Messenger chatbot technology. First, it had to design a huge conversation flow to cover the most important points on the subject. After that, AA collected member testimonials, programmed the bot, and created the campaign to encourage people to interact with it. The first Anonymous Friend was made for Brazil, but AA plans to make this project open-source so other branches around the world can implement the chatbot in their countries.
The whole idea was developed specifically for mobile, a place where everyone feels more comfortable interacting with others because of its privacy. The campaign was entirely mobile-friendly, with vertical videos, GIFs, and posts that were designed to direct users to conversation with the click of a button.
Anonymous Friend became Brazilian teens’ first step of recovery: a platform born in their world, available 24 hours a day on the privacy of their phones, so they didn’t have to feel ashamed to ask for help. The impact for Alcoholics Anonymous was huge. In the first week, the page received over 28,000 likes and over 100,000 conversations with the chatbot. In addition, 65 percent of groups were reached through geolocation, increasing daily requests for help on AA’s email by 1,300 percent. Major groups registered a 20 percent increase of new members in their meetings.