• Carma Levene

Why Christmas Rules with Adam Barrell from So Perth

Updated: Dec 13, 2018



There’s no more denying it’s almost Christmas. There are carols ringing out across the land, every brand under the sun is doing '12 Days of Giftmas' or similar, and people can almost taste the summer break that coincides with the silly season.


At this time of year marketers like to stop and reflect on what’s important - an end of year sales boost, and ways to tap into the buying frenzy.

And there’s a LOT of bad examples of this, but there’s some really clever campaigns out there too. The Marketer is about being as jolly as a red suited, wobbly-bellied annual visitor, so we’re going to bring you some home-grown joy.


While some Christmas signals are sent too early (remember the backlash every year when the

supermarkets start stocking fruit mince pies) there’s others that are always welcome…and that’s the genius in this next campaign example from our local publisher, So Perth.


You’d have to be living under a rock to miss the fact that Christmas lights are a big deal.

Perth people are going to spectacular lengths to illuminate their homes, and other people go to equal lengths to drive around looking at them. I’m not sure what if anything this has to do with the birth of Jesus, but that’s the grinch talking...


Christmas lights are BIG.

Search volumes for "christmas lights" over time - From Google Trends

And that yearly spike is getting bigger.


So what do you do if you want to provide Perth with the best information on where to get their Christmas lights fix at scale?


You build a Messenger Chatbot, and that’s exactly what So Perth MD and Co-Founder Adam Barrell did.


How does it work?


Check out the video:


Since Perth hasn’t had its own chatbot of this type before we tracked down Mr Barrell to see what he’d be willing to share with us.


“The bot is a new play in the market, definitely a Perth first and I’m pretty sure an Australian first. Having a website that lists Christmas light displays or an interactive map where you can zoom in and out is cool, but what’s even better is being able to simply search like you would using google and then have the locations of any given suburb delivered directly ...


...with one tap you can get directions straight to the house"

How do you get listed, and can you opt out?


“you can easily submit updates to add or remove a house and even submit a photo of a house to then be featured on the Bot.”


Seems like it took a lot of work, how long did it take you to make?


“It took the good part of a month to build the bot with approximately 400 houses that had to be input manually along with countless rules and sequences to bring it to life.”


How’s the uptake been?


“I have had to turn notifications off for the Facebook page messenger as it has been blowing up with people jumping on board to try the Christmas Lights Bot.”


How did you know there’d be a demand?


“Based on the success of previous years Christmas lights content we knew it was something Perth people had a hunger for.


In 4 days we have had over 25,000 hits to our Christmas lights articles (location and bot) with both articles currently sitting #1 (Christmas Lights location) and #2/3 (Christmas Bot) on Google for ‘Perth Christmas Lights’”




Where to from here Adam, will there be more So Perth bots?


"The bot is now a foundation of other things I would like to try with So Perth and Bots namely around experiences/tourism...

...even pub/bars creating a ‘where would you like to drink’ bot.”


We’ll let Adam keep his secret sauce to himself, but success involves a lot of hard work behind the scenes. But it’s not just a matter of shoving the next cool thing, like a chatbot, down the throat of your audience.


Like any content play you have to build your authority with Google – and the audience, to be considered a resource.


Great work Adam and the So Perth team!


Thanks for shedding some light on your innovative Christmas campaign with The Marketer, we hope your bot exceeds your expectations and makes sure Perth people aren’t in the dark about where to find the best displays.


Test the bot for yourself.


Who’s Adam Barrell?


Co-founder and Managing Director of So Media Group, one of Australia's fastest growing new media companies.