The internet is a wily thing. Like primordial ooze, things can simmer for years before bubbling to to the top and bursting in a shower of slime before sinking back into the murky depths. But if years of study have taught me three things about the internet, it’s this: It loves porn, cats, and taking warping any brand’s attempt at digital marketing. From potato chips to Bill Cosby, the backfiring happens like clockwork.
Yet with this knowledge in hand, this spring Marvel will unleash their first chatbot into the world. To coincide with the launch of the Secret Empire event, Marvel has partnered with Conversable Inc. to create a chatbot that will let fans have conversations with Spider-Man. The program will be available on both Facebook Messenger and Twitter DM. And it will take approximately .0002 seconds for fans to start asking questions such as “Does your junk stick to things?” and “Who is better in bed, Mary Jane or Gwen Stacey?” and “Are you and Deadpool a couple?” And those are just the ones I can think and my editor will let me write.
Marvel isn’t going in completely blind. They’ll try to direct the conversations fans have with Spider-Man with an all new adventure written for the chatbot by Eisner Award-winning author, Jim McCann. Much like the Westworld chatbot, who could only answer a certain set of questions, it seems Marvel is trying to nip inappropriate question in the bud by setting story parameters. It’s almost as if they haven’t met the Internet.
From the official press release:
At launch, in support of Marvel Comics’ SECRET EMPIRE event, the Marvel chatbot will allow fans the ability to converse with everyone’s favorite neighborhood wall-crawler, Spider-Man! Fans will also be able to engage in fun quizzes & puzzles, receive exclusive first-looks, and find their local comic shops.
“As consumers move to new platforms, it’s more important than ever for brands to meet their audience where they are,” said Ben Lamm, CEO of Conversable. “What Marvel is doing is a truly original way for such a creative organization to engage customers and tell stories through new mediums. Through the power of conversational intelligence, fans can go from bystander to fully immersed in the Marvel Universe and become part of the story.”
If all goes well, it seems more Marvel heroes will be making their way to social media this summer to have awkward, stilted conversations in which the chatbot tries to move the story along and the human tries to get funny and/or dirty answers of them. The chatbot is currently scheduled to release in tandem with Secret Empire on May 3, 2017. Godspeed, Marvel.