Hot Wheels Deploys Twitter-Activated Vending Machine
It seems like a simple thing to give out samples of Hot Wheels at a car show. But for the Canadian International Auto Show (CIAS), Hot Wheels set out to turn a simple sampling activation into an experience that every consumer would remember.
The objectives included earning as much attention from CIAS attendees as possible, but, more specifically, building buzz for the Hot Wheels-inspired 2013 Chevrolet Camaro Special Edition die-cast among boys ages three to eight years old and their parents (the cars promoted GM’s new special edition Hot Wheels-themed Camaro, for sale to consumers for the first time since 1968). The strategy: on-site activation plus measurable social media integration. Hot Wheels decided that the best way to distribute a large number of the special edition cars was not to simply hand them out. Oh, no. Instead, it deployed a Twitter-activated vending machine that responded to tweets that used the #ChevyCIAS hashtag. In order to get one of the cars, guests had to follow @HotWheelsCanada and tweet a request to the hashtag. The machine would recognize that the tweet was sent, and vend a car to the eagerly waiting young fan.
To accomplish this feat, the brand retrofitted a standard vending machine with a custom control board that worked with the machine’s existing electrical system and controls so that it could dispense products randomly, but in controlled amounts and distributions. Hot Wheels used the Twitter API to search and track tweets, validate the content of the tweets for proper use of hashtag and messaging and used the Twitter location services to confirm that the user who sent the tweet was actually present at the auto show. The activation drew almost 5,000 tweets including #ChevyCIAS and @HotWheelsCanada and tripled the brand’s followers on Twitter while distributing 7,750 cars.