KitKat creates world’s first AI-powered staring contest by Wunderman Thompson

KitKat staring campaign

Snack maker KitKat has teamed up with ad agency Wunderman Thompson to launch what it said its the world’s first staring contest driven by artificial Intelligence.

With scientific studies showing that even brief diversions from a task can dramatically improve ability to focus, more than ever people are turning to social media to break up their day, the agency said. 

Instagram is particularly popular, especially with Gen Z, with 63% of users scrolling through their feed at least once a day.

You can play the KitKat AI staring game here.

Staring breaks

Introducing the Blink Break, a fun distraction from the mundane every day that gives people the chance to have a break from what they’re doing and go head-to-head in an AI-powered staring contest.

Built by integrated marketing agency Wunderman Thompson and using MediaPipe’s cutting-edge Face Mesh technology, the online game is enabled with a single camera input that uses machine learning to recognise a face and detect blinking, returning results literally within the blink of an eye. 

Participants face off against progressively more absurd animals the further through the game they get, from a lemur to a snowy owl.

With a pause in the action between each level, those who play are also encouraged to compete against each other and share their results using #blinkchallenge.

Developed by Wunderman Thompson’s UK and Seattle offices, the interactive game launched across KitKat’s global Instagram channel on 30 May, with posts coinciding with the infamous mid-afternoon slump when people are most in need of a light-hearted distraction.

Wael Jabi, Global Strategic Marketing and Communications Lead at KitKat said: “KitKat has famously encouraged people to have a break since 1957, and this campaign shows a whole generation of digital natives the benefits of taking a break in one of the most relevant contexts for them.”

Paul Shearer, Global Chief Creative Officer at Wunderman Thompson said: “Developing cutting-edge AI technology that responds within the blink of an eye is an unexpected move for KitKat, but gives the brand a chance to show up and show off their legendary positioning in a fresh and relevant way to a new audience.”