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Special Project

Special Project
From the 11th Annual Shorty Awards

Be Painted by a Genius: NatGeo's Picasso Bot

Finalist in Facebook Messenger


To introduce audiences to season two of their hit drama series "Genius," National Geographic needed to devise a way to enable fans to interact with the genius himself, using only their smart phone. But how do you bring Picasso to life using modern technology, in a way that feels impactful, and drives fans to follow through and watch the program?

Strategy and Execution

We settled on a custom Messenger bot; one that gave fans the opportunity to chat with Picasso, using GIFs and footage of the show's star, Antonio Banderas. To take it one step further, we used best-of-breed machine learning frameworks to train a computer on Picasso's greatest work from three infamous periods in his career: blue, surreal, and cubist. Users answered a few questions about their favorite Picasso styles and their mood, then uploaded a photo. Using automated image manipulation, we returned your portrait as "painted" by Picasso.

No one photo was the same, giving users their own masterpiece painted by the genius himself, and with a National Geographic watermark attached that included premier information. And once users interacted with the bot, your friend Pablo dropped in just before the first episode to remind his "muses" to tune in.


The results speak for themselves:

Ad recall: 28 pts (2x the entertainment industry benchmark)

Brand Awareness: 16 points (1.5X the entertainment industry benchmark)

Intent to Tune-in: 6 pts (2x the entertainment industry benchmark)

Reported Live tune-in: 3 pts (above the TV benchmark)

Finally, Picasso Bot was featured as a "Best In Class Messenger" selection highlighted at Cannes.


Video for Be Painted by a Genius: NatGeo's Picasso Bot

Entrant Company / Organization Name

ISL, Facebook Creative Shop, National Geographic

Entry Credits