Tweet to Eat: Twitter-Activated Vending Machines Are Here

Written by | Feature, Marketing Strategy, Social Media

English snack-food Giant, Walkers, and its agencies Talon and Clear Channel, have delivered a lip-smackingly delicious integrated campaign, which they’ve brilliantly dubbed ‘Tweet to Eat.’

Common Challenge, Groundbreaking Solution

At its core, Tweet to Eat is a product awareness and sampling campaign. The twist is that it’s built around the first-ever Twitter activated vending machines, installed at some of London’s busiest public transit stops.

For engagement, a virtual likeness of product ambassador, English soccer legend Gary Lineker, playfully interacts with passersby, encouraging them (via hand signals and small signs) to request a free bag of crisps (potato chips, to us Yanks) using the Twitter handle @Walkers_busstop. The virtual Gary then dispenses a free bag, which Tweeters gleefully gobble up.

Gary’s interactive shtick changes periodically, prompting people to try as many of the six available “test” flavors as possible. They are then asked to go online and vote for their favorite. Walkers has pledged to put the public’s choice into mass production soon after the promotion ends. Will it be Ranch Raccoon, Cheesy Beans on Toast or one of the others?
Only time will tell.

Meanwhile, there are several tasty takeaways for resourceful small business marketers.

Campaign Elements

Walker and its agencies developed an arguably predictable but creatively executed blend of new and traditional media to engage its audience, relying heavily on social and word of mouth marketing. Key campaign elements include:

  • Twitter – including highly produced, animated Vine videos and Vine video testimonials
  • Radio – which helped promote the campaign and keep it top of mind
  • A YouTube channel – which is currently nearing one million hits
  • Product-driven campaign site – where here here consumers vote for their favorite flavors (in exchange for email and Facebook info)

Because of its historic use of Twitter powered vending machines, the campaign also garnered untold millions worth of free publicity and media coverage.

Insights You Can Apply

  • Strive to be truly creative. Ad-weary consumers accept that they will be marketed to. But they are almost always game for marketing that’s original, fresh and fun.  A virtual celebrity dispensing goodies on-demand?  Not something you see every day.
  • Try to be first at something. You don’t have to have a huge budget or legendary spokesperson to beat competitors to the punch. Challenge your team to identify some possible ‘firsts’ for your company. Ideas could be related to products or services or a first-time foray into charitable marketing or events. See our Lipton Tea post for another marketing ‘first’ built around floating vending machines.
  • Invite customer input. Want to know what consumers want? Just ask. Through Twitter, online voting and other channels, Walkers was able to hedge its bet by learning which products would likely sell and which wouldn’t. Brand bonus: imagine how people might feel about personally influencing the creation of a new product–or better yet, about the company that actually listened to them.

Last modified: July 17, 2017

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