Japanese clothier Uniqlo set up shop in the heart of Times Square on Nov. 18 to introduce its Heat Tech thermal underwear line to the U.S. From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. New York’s huddled masses were invited to jump into a queue for a chance to receive a free pair of the brand’s signature lightweight thermal long johns or long-sleeved t-shirts.
Brand ambassadors dressed in futuristic silver jumpsuits scanned consumers one by one with thermographic scanners and displayed images of their body temperatures on a flat-screen TV. Next the human scanners pushed a button that started a choreographed robotic routine by a live person inside a glass-enclosed display case who selected a box of toasty new underwear and slipped it down a chute to the waiting consumer. Just under 4 000 gift boxes were distributed in under three hours.
The vending machine concept is a nod to the brand’s Japanese roots and a play on the prevalence of vending machines that are found throughout the country.
“We’re always looking at new ways to make the customer shopping experience exciting and different and that’s where the vending machine fits in ” Linda Faello public relations manager at Uniqlo told Buzz. “One of our key focuses is customer service and paying attention to the individual customer and that’s shown here. We’re not giving away tons of free product—we’re having people come up one by one to be scanned and go up to the vending machines so they get this whole fun different experience.”
This November Uniqlo launched Heat Tech worldwide with similar events in London Paris Seoul and Shanghai. Agency: Dentsu Communications Inc. New York City.