Perhaps, also convenience and the irritating factor of needing the correct change or paying over the odds for already overpriced snacks.
Viewing vending machines as dispensers for snacks and drinks is fast becoming outdated with the new craze of vending machines selling a huge range of far higher priced goods. The industry is worth an estimated 40-50 billion dollars and vending machines are evolving to be ‘smart’ which gives further convenience and an improved consumer experience in three important ways; technology is enabling more convenient, engaging interactions, vending is becoming a point of purchase opportunity and consumers are buying higher priced goods from vending machines.
So, where has this trend emerged from? Brands are always looking at methods of interaction that are both innovative and engaging. In recent years we have seen increasing numbers of marketing campaigns based around vending machines.
The range of vending machines is expanding all the time. In November 2013 the first Champagne vending machine was installed in Selfridges. For £18 a pop, customers can enjoy chilled bottles of Moët & Chandon coated in Swarovski crystals. To avoid under age sales, customers must collect and pay at the till. A bike part vending machine appeared in Brooklyn offering essentials like locks, tubes, tools, food and drink. The service hopes to expand and partner with local businesses; recruiting them as sources of stock.
Coca Cola have executed a number of vending machine campaigns. Ranging from their vending machine that delivered ‘doses’ of happiness, to their vending machine in South Korea powered by Xbox Kinect that dispensed free coke after recognising your dancing. The better the dancing, the more bottles of coke that were dispensed.
Another cool vending machine campaign we noticed was Billboard Magazine’s ‘Fan Check’. This involved you plugging in your iPhone or iPod so the machine can check if you have over twenty songs of the featured artist. If do did have then you received a free copy of the magazine.
The ‘S4 Stare Down’ is another example of a marketing campaign using vending machines and consisted of a one hour staring competition to win a Samsung Galaxy S4. Those who managed to keep their eyes on the phone for an hour, won a free phone. Crowds gathered to watch and to increase the difficulty and visibility, a series of distractions were sent in, including fake police with dogs, motorcyclists knocking over flower stalls and arguing actors.
NOAH’s campaign shocked shoppers with live chickens in their ‘Egg’ vending machine to raise awareness of the plight of battery hens. As the public passed by, they were greeted by the message that 68% of all chickens worldwide were treated in these appalling living conditions. Instead of dispensing eggs, the vending machine dispensed information on buying organic and free-range eggs. You’ll be pleased to hear no chickens were injured, and they were returned to their organic farm after 3 hours.
As part of a campaign promoting the Sochi Winter Olympics, a special vending machine was set-up at Moscow’s Vystavochnaya metro station. The machine was fitted with a camera and when commuters completed 30 squats within two minutes, they were given free subway tickets.
With ever increasing advances in digital and interactive technology, the possibilities for vending machines are continuously developing. The flexibility and convenience of vending machines makes them exciting opportunities for pop up and experiential campaigns for brands.