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HROC’s Top Five Vending Machine PR Stunts

Here at HROC we have noticed that there seems to be a renewed fascination with the humble vending machine, with many companies choosing one to create a PR stunt to generate buzz and awareness of their product. Giving consumers a free sample to encourage them to make a future purchase is a PR technique that is undeniably successful, but this new twist on a traditional method is one that is proving even more effective. Here we count down our top five PR Stunts involving a vending machine as a celebration of this growing trend.

5 First up at number five we have the most recent vending machine stunt by drinks giant Coca-Cola. They placed a single vending machine in Singapore which offered a free can of coke in exchange for a hug. Yep, you’ve got it, free coke for hugging a machine. The stunt forms part of the brands ‘open happiness’ campaign and was so successful they are planning to carry out similar stunts across Asia.

 4 At number four is tourism company British Columbia who placed a giant 14-foot tall, 10-foot wide vending machine in San Francisco. The machine was used to advertise activities included in the British Columbia holiday experience. Users were given gifts ranging from camping blankets to mountain bikes!

3 Coming in at number three is a campaign by Australian snacks brand, Fantastic Snacks. They used a vending machine to see how far people would go to get their products. They asked consumers to complete a number of challenges before receiving their free snack box. The challenges ranged from simply pressing a button a designated number of times to bowing down in front of the machine… check out this video which has more than 500,000 hits to see just how far people went!

2 Narrowly missing out on the top spot is the cake dispensing ads that were used by Mr Kipling. At first look the boards seem to be simple poster advertisements; however they are actually vending machines dispensing up to 500 pieces of free Angel Slices a day, once a minute, at the touch of a button. The stunt was used to promote the launch of their new snap pack angel slices. According to Creativity Online, one bus shelter on London’s Tottenham Court Road also emits a cakey scent!


1 So, at number one we have our favourite vending machine PR Stunt by South African drinks company BOS Ice Tea. They launched a vending machine called ‘BEV’ that dispenses samples of their tea when users tweet specifically to @BOS using the hashtag #BOSTWEET4T. The incorporation of social media ensures that any hype surrounding the stunt is focused directly to the brand by drawing attention to their twitter feed, genius!