This week saw a first in the long, contentious and thoroughly exhausting campaign for the White House: an apology of sorts from GOP nominee Donald J. Trump.
Some critics were quick to point out that Trump didn't say that he was sorry in last night's speech or name any specific incidents in which he feels like he may have gone a bit too far. He simply said, "Sometimes, in the heat of debate and speaking on a multitude of issues, you don't choose the right words or you say the wrong thing," adding, "I have done that, and I regret it, particularly where it may have caused personal pain."
One ad agency—admittedly one with a long track record of working on Democratic campaigns—has made light of Trump's word woes by combining two of today's hottest marketing topics: messenger bots and the ever-shifting spectacle of the Trump campaign.
"BFF Trump" is a Facebook Messenger bot that provides users with the best and/or worst of Donald Trump. It makes for an amusing way to pass a few minutes' time … unless you happen to be a yuuuuge fan of The Donald.
Users simply open the bot in their Facebook Messenger accounts, give the chatbot access, and move easily through a Choose Your Own Adventure version of Trump's quotes about a laundry list of hot-button subjects like gender equality, abortion, climate change, torture, immigration and his personal relationships with various minority groups. The bot includes hundreds of facepalms—and the list is likely to keep growing.
Conveniently, every series of messages ends with a "Really?" link to a news item proving that Trump did indeed say things like "A well-educated black has a tremendous advantage over a well-educated white in terms of the job market."
SS+K's New York office partnered with Dexter, a bot platform startup from Betaworks, to create the bot as a playful way to make potentially "disengaged" young people more aware of the man who would be president. In case it wasn't already obvious enough, they do not count themselves among Trump's fan base.
"With BFF Trump, we explored how to use an emerging technology to connect with the younger voters, to point a strong light on the hateful rhetoric that Trump spews and to motivate people to get out and take action this fall," said svp of digital strategy and innovation Kevin Skobac
Creative and senior strategist Claudia Cukrov added, "With a candidate like Trump, it's almost impossible to keep track of his position on anything. BFF Trump gives users an opportunity to navigate the madness in a space and format the audience knows all too well."
SS+K has a lot of experience with this sort of thing. Its founders have been political consultants for many years, and their shop served as the youth agency for Barack Obama's 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns.
We currently have 80 days to go until the election, so BFF Trump should continue to add plenty of fresh material.
Kevin Skobac: SVP, Digital Strategy + Innovation
Claudia Cukrov: Creative, Senior Strategist
John Swartz: SVP, Director of Production + Innovation
Craig von Wiederhold: Senior Producer
Chris Berger: Senior Producer
Paul Malloy: Research
Jesse Raker: Design Director
Caroline O'Toole: Designer
Brendan Bilko: Head of Product, Dexter
David Hu: VP of Engineering, Dexter
James Cooper: Head of Creative, Betaworks