Brands are taking out-of-the-box advertising inside a box. Twitter-enabled vending machines have been placed on the streets of major cities such as New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco to try out a new marketing tactic where consumers can tweet to receive free gear.
According to AdWeek, brands such as Old Navy, Westin and Nike have all given these social kiosks a shot, which resulted in stellar social engagement. The Old Navy machine generated 12 million impressions on its own. Westin saw a total of 183,000 impressions and 15,000 engagements with their kiosk, further confirming these machines’ ability to create a social presence for these brands.
The question is, which goals would these vending machines help reach? Based on the evidence given, it is clear that the tactic provides a big jump for social engagement in a short amount of time. As for building a stronger connection with the consumer or providing a profit-generating out-of-home alternative, the jury is still out in my opinion. These machines seem like they would fit best as a hype-builder for any big brand event, much like how Old Navy used them for their annual sale. This is a great way to get consumers excited about the brand and push out a reminder message about an upcoming event. I also find this a great way to give/maintain a youthful and innovative personality to a brand looking to reach that type of audience. Finally, if the free swag is well received, who’s to say it won’t drive the consumer to the store wanting more?
Gartner’s Research Director Jennifer Polk stated, “Just putting up the vending machines and getting people to tweet about flip-flops might have given [Old Navy] some interesting quantitative and qualitative insight, but I don’t know if there is enough there to build a case on social commerce.”
As I stated earlier, I find a huge amount of promotional benefits for these machines, but as for actual profit-boosting, there is still a lot that needs to be looked into. As a college student, I would just like to say that any brand willing to give me free things for social engagement has my tweet.
top image via twitter.com/OldNavy