A South African soft drinks company has come up with a novel way of promoting its products by using social media. BOS Ice Tea have developed a vending machine that offers free drinks in response to certain hashtags.
It’s a simple mechanism; users must tweet a certain hashtag, and in order to make the machine dispense a free drink its creators configured a special hashtag filter. When the hashtag appears on Twitter, the vending machine checks it and – if correct – gives out a drink. A screen on the front panel of the machine will then display the tweet.
At present there is only one of these machines, however it will soon be going on a tour of South Africa, to “interact physically with as many people as possible” as BOS co-founder Grant Rushmere explained.
He also said “we use sampling extensively to promote our product.” It makes sense that if you are going to be giving people a taste for free, why not get them to promote your drink at the same time? Twitter is on the rise in South Africa, and if you can get people to mention your brand or product name on the micro-blogging network in exchange for free samples that you’re giving away regardless, then a small investment into R&D for a vending machine that recognises hashtags seems worthwhile to me.
What’s the most intriguing or bizarre social media related advertising campaign that you’ve ever seen?