Creative in association withGear Seven

HungerStation and Wunderman Thompson Tap into the Subconscious to Help People Order Food

Advertising Agency
Kansas City, USA
Teams in Seattle and Riyadh, alongside its global creative data practice, developed the tool that will end the back-and-forth that often comes with ordering a takeaway

HungerStation, one of the leading online food ordering platforms in Saudi Arabia, is tapping into the subconscious to help people order food, when they just can’t figure out what they’re in the mood for.

Perusing delivery options can be frustrating task when we are hungry (“We just had pizza the other night!” – we’ve all been there). We can spend much longer deciding what to eat than actually… eating. So much so, that according to a study by Seated, as quoted by the New York Post[1], the average adult spends around 132 hours a year looking at menus online. 

To make the decision easier, HungerStation (Saudi Arabia’s version of Doordash or Deliveroo) has worked with Wunderman Thompson teams in Seattle and Riyadh to create a powerful tool that will end the back and forth (and endless arguments) by handing the decision-making process over to the subconscious mind.  

The inspiration behind the work stemmed from a study from The Biology of Belief by Dr Bruce Lipton[2], that found ‘the conscious mind can only process 40 bits of info per second. While the subconscious mind can process information up to 500,000 times quicker.’ That prompted the team to ask: “What if we help people connect better with their subconscious mind, and let it find the answer they’re looking for”? 

Thanks to the way the tool uses the camera to replicate the Brain-Computer interface, it signals a step towards the future of ‘Zero UI’ interfaces, whereby users control a deice through their voice, movements, glances, or thoughts. While it can’t (yet) read your mind, the app uses Vision AI and Topic Modelling AI to help users order food according to what they’re craving the most.

Here’s how it works: 

  • Images of different cuisines are presented to the user via a tool in the HungerStation app (available to customers in Saudi Arabia)
  • The app uses the camera on the device (mobile or desktop) along with in-app eye calibration and vision AI (which tracks where your eyes go) to track the users’ eye movement 
  • It then uses topic modelling AI to organise food options and present an instant report of what the eye lingered the longest on to reveal the subconscious craving
  • The tool will then generate a list of local restaurants where HungerStation customers can order the item they so wish to consume  

The tool also demonstrates ‘compressed commerce’ in action – a term coined by Wunderman Thompson Commerce – which can be understood as the desire for consumers to get from inspiration to purchase as quickly as possible.

Speaking about the work, Mohammed Jifri, chief of marketing at HungerStation said, “We at HungerStation are proud to be a leader in the food and tech delivery landscape in Saudi Arabia. We constantly look for ways to provide our customers with the most innovative features to make their journey on our app easier and more enjoyable.

“We’ve noticed that people often spend more time browsing different menu options on the app before deciding what to eat. So, with our partners at Wunderman Thompson, we introduced a new and state-of-the-art way to help people figure out their cravings for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Using the latest developments in AI, we were able to meticulously track the eye movement and narrow down their options, before giving our customers the food they may not even know they’re looking for,” he continued.   

Rayyan Aoun, ECD for Wunderman Thompson KSA said, “HungerStation was the first – and is still the leading – food delivery app in the Kingdom. They’re pioneers in their field, so it was only fitting that we create a tool that would revolutionise the way people order food, allowing HungerStation to differentiate their offer to go above and beyond the typical in-app or website shopping experience to inspire . Sometimes we need our subconscious mind to tell us what we really want.” 

Wunderman Thompson’s global lead, creative data, Jason Carmel, added, “Using Computer Vision to hack decision fatigue on a mobile device was a fantastic technical and design challenge. We’re thrilled with the outcome, particularly how the tool can provide inspiration during the decision-making process (which I’m sure we could all use a little respite from sometimes!), and compress the purchase journey for HungerStation’s customers.” 

While the tool has been designed specifically for HungerStation customers, those based outside Saudi Arabia can also get a taste for the app (and get some much-needed help choosing what to order for dinner) via the desktop version here

Agency / Creative
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