by Daniel Huffine, James Krahe, and Ynes Bouck
Identify a part of the UFC brand that could benefit from a chatbot and design a solution.
Most sports are reporting a decline in viewership, especially sports related to fighting.
The median age of UFC viewers has been steadily increasing and currently sits at 49.
UFC has utilized social media well by encouraging fighters to engage with fans on Twitter and Instagram.
UFC understands that it's the personal stories of their fighters that attract viewers, not the fights on their own, and it has utilized social media to help tell these stories. The issue is that there are so many events and so many fighters that only dedicated UFC fans are able to keep up with UFC's ever changing cast of characters. We set out to design a chatbot solution that would decrease the barrier of entry for new viewers as well as provide an engaging UFC experience for regular viewers.
Like the sport, the UFC brand is innovative, bold, and focused on developing fighters with stories as powerful as their strikes.
We wanted to develop a voice for our chatbot that was accessible to new viewers while still capturing the excitement of UFC.
Thus, George was born.
George is your fun uncle (not the creepy one...). He's the guy that corners you at the Keurig early Monday morning to talk to you about that UFC fight you didn't watch as well the effect that Chipotle has on his bowels (yet he still eats it 3 times a week.) Yeah, he might be a little much sometimes, but you can't help but enjoy every time you're sucked into is wacky world.
My focus was on developing a pre-fight experience that would get people excited and informed about upcoming fights.
For our use case, we decided to build our chatbot experience around UFC 205 which was one of the biggest fights in UFC history.
George functions as a hype man as soon as the fight is announced. He's excited about the new fight, and can't wait to tell you all the dirty details.
As we get closer too the fight, George has more to say. He can give you update on the specific fighters, their workout routines, when and where you can watch the fight, all while telling his own story.
What I enjoyed most about designing the pre-fight experience is that it takes place over the course of a couple weeks, which gave me the opportunity to develop George as a character. Over the course of the experience I designed, George is going through a divorce (his wife is more into UFC than George and started practicing UFC moves on him) and is using UFC as a way to distract himself from his crumbling world.
Character is King
When we demoed our chatbot, people who were not fans of UFC, even people who strongly disapprove of violence, enjoyed the experience because we had developed a character that people wanted to interact with.