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Hollywood has been using bots to entertain on the silver screen for decades — this includes HAL 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey, Jarvis from Iron Man, and more recently, the Samantha bot from the movie Her. Now, however, Hollywood is leveraging bots to market and create income from celebrities. These celebri-bots hold good lessons for how bots can be used by major brands for monetization and brand awareness. Here are four unique celebrity bots and the marketing tactics they employ.

1. Casey Neistat Bot: Affiliate Marketing

As one of YouTube’s top celebrities, Casey Neistat is known most for documenting his life through daily vlogs, which often contain eccentric behavior.

Neistat has gained millions of fans, many of whom are inspired to create their own vlogs. Casey is well aware of this fan phenomenon, and often reviews and promotes video equipment through his YouTube channel for an additional stream of income.

The Casey Neistat Bot for Facebook Messenger takes this a step further by not only allowing users to be notified of his latest videos, but also to see and purchase the video gear he uses. By simply asking “What gear do you use?” you get served a categorized list of Casey’s favorite gear, with each item linked to an Amazon affiliate link. So while the bot is a great way for Casey to drive traffic over to his YouTube channel, what’s most interesting is that he’s generating additional income by using the bot as an engaging channel for affiliate marketing.

Marketers can create affiliate marketing for their own brands by adding a chatbot into their web or mobile platforms that sends users to partner sites, and track partnership marketing using deep links.

2. FooBot (LMFAO’s Redfoo): Cross-promotion

Many of the celebrity bots that come from musicians offer the same type of content: links to YouTube music videos, concert listings, ticketing, and merchandise. In addition to this content, Redfoo’s FooBot for Facebook Messenger offers something unique — cross-promotion with Uber through a feature called “Ride with Foo.”

Selecting the Ride with Foo option allows users to connect their Uber account with the bot so they can listen to LMFAO music while they’re riding in an Uber. This is a great example of cross-promotion: Loyal LMFAO fans may want to give this feature a try during their next night out in the city, which benefits Uber (and the Uber driver) by creating additional revenue. And while Ride with Foo is not likely to be used more than once by the same person due to its novel nature, it can be a source of new user acquisition for Uber, which is much more valuable in the long term.

Marketers can use chatbots to gather data about their users, create custom segments, and then use this information to send targeted cross-promotional messages from trusted partners.

3. Aeden (Westworld Bot): Viral marketing/ARG

Westworld is HBO’s latest hit TV show, about an adult theme park full of lifelike robots, where guests are free to do whatever they please without consequence. It’s a binge-worthy mind-bender, and particularly relevant to issues we face today as we develop increasingly advanced artificial intelligence.

In perhaps the most meta of bots, Aeden is a bot for Westworld‘s tie-in website, Discover Westworld. While it doesn’t offer much functionality on the surface, apart from general Westworld trivia and a plug for HBO’s website, Aeden has been particularly useful as a component to an alternate reality game (ARG).

Once Westworld fans got word of the Discover Westworld website, they quickly got to work, looking for any clues or hidden Easter eggs. What they found was a hint from Aeden, which ultimately led to a very spoiler-like revelation for the upcoming season. Shortly thereafter, the news spread like wildfire on news websites and social media like Reddit — a great example of how a bot can generate additional publicity through viral marketing.

Giving chatbots unique roles in marketing campaigns and tying them into an integrated strategy can create interesting, multifaceted experiences for users.

4. Dave Ramsey Alexa Skill: Smart audio

Most of the popular bots are based on some sort of chat or text dialog — whether it be on Facebook Messenger or hosted on a website like Westworld’s. But new AI-driven devices like the Amazon Echo have provided a new avenue for bots: audio. With the Echo, users can install custom audio-driven bots called “skills” that do things like check your bank account balance, call for an Uber, or order a pizza.

Dave Ramsey, one of America’s most popular speakers on personal finance, has an Alexa skill that lets users listen to his show. While the skill is very basic, with only a few play and stop functions, it’s a great way to acquire new listeners with the help of a bot. Most importantly, bots like Dave Ramsey’s Alexa skill open the door for new marketing experiences, like using an influencer or celebrity’s voice to help create audio-driven AI conversations that result in purchases or conversions.

Marketers can increase distribution of valuable content through popular bots. As new technology emerges, it’s important for marketers to stay on top of emerging trends and experiment with new ways to reach their customers. As they are often at the forefront of new ways to self-promote and build brand awareness, celebrities can be the perfect source of inspiration for innovative marketing tactics.

Dima Rakovitsky is the CEO and founder of ROKO Labs, a mobile app developer.

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Above: VB Profiles Chatbots Landscape. (Disclosure: VB Profiles is a cooperative effort between VentureBeat and Spoke Intelligence.) This article is part of our bots landscape series. You can download a high resolution version of the landscape featuring 197 companies by clicking this image.

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