10 Creative Ways Brands Have Used Vending Machines 

When you think of a vending machine, you likely think of the near-impossible decision of picking between M&Ms or Skittles, Coke or Dr. Pepper. These days though, vending machines are much more than snack and drink machines. 

You’ve probably seen the tech hub vending machines in airports where you can grab a new set of headphones or a phone charger, in case you left yours behind in a rush out the door. But, aside from just selling goods, many companies are starting to use vending machines as brand marketing activations. 

With the goal of spreading awareness about products and offerings for future purchases, brands have done creative things like makeup exchanges for old products and themed prizes for people posting on their social media profiles. 

Here are 10 creative ways vending machines have been used for brand activations. 

Urban Decay Makeup Exchange

In February 2019, Urban Decay activated vending machines in Los Angeles to advertise its Naked Reloaded Palette. More than 500 eyeshadow palettes were distributed in an hour to fans who dropped off their used palettes in exchange for the brand’s new offering. Scenic production was undertaken by 11th St. Workshop.

Urban Decay Naked Reloaded Vending Machine

Hyatt Centric Hotels Experience Giveaway

Hyatt Centric hotels installed a huge vending machine in New York City where everyone won. Visitors had the opportunity to enter to win prizes like a 2016 Vespa Primavera, a private limo tour of the city, Polaroid Snap cameras, and $10,000 worth of Hyatt gift cards by posting on Instagram using the machine in Flatiron Plaza. Beats a stale candy bar, for sure.

Hyatt Centric Vending Machine Experiential Marketing

National Geographic Show Promotion

National Geographic and WeWork collaborated on an immersive campaign to promote the network’s new limited series “Valley of the Boom,” which focuses on the dot-com bubble. The “Valley of the Boom Internet Café” opened at WeWork sites in New York City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. The retro-themed workspace had vintage desktop computers from the time period and social vending machines that distributed ’90s candy, toys, and trading cards.  The rewards were given for tweets and Instagram photos using the hashtag #ValleyOfTheBoom.

Valley of the Boom Internet Café National Geographic

Target Dance for Treats

In 2021, Target teamed with MullenLowe and MKG on a pop-up vending machine experience to promote Favorite Day – its newest food and beverage brand. The “Dance for Treats” machine offered full-size product rewards in exchange for participants’ best dance moves. The activation passed through Los Angeles, Denver, and Dallas. eTech Rentals loved being apart of this installation. Talk to our experts about our experience and how the event went.

MullenLowe and MKG event with Target launching their favorite day experiential marketing with rentals from eTech

Adidas World Series

During the MLB World Series, Adidas constructed a digital vending machine that provided fans items to celebrate their wins as a way to advertise their Splash Pack line.   Boston and Los Angeles sports bars both had the digital vending machines installed, and they gave away rewards up until the final out of World Series games. Rally towels, foam fingers, T-shirts, rally towels, and even limited-edition prizes like signatures and apparel from Adidas athletes like Chris Sale are among the assortment of items they provided. The cool part about it was that the prizes were altered depending on the game’s circumstances, so if a player did something good like hit a home run, some of his gear would be released. 

Adias World Series Vending Machine

Lululemon Run Stop

By installing a machine at one of its Run Stop Shops in New York and another in Chicago, Lululemon targeted one of its primary customer segments—runners. Prizes included necessary running accessories like Lululemon socks and caps and Honey Stinger energy chews. Customers had to register with their emails, respond to a brief survey on their exercise routines, and submit a photo with the hashtags #thesweatlifeNYC or #thesweatlifeCHI in order to be entered to win free goods.

lululemon run stop shops

GoGo Squeez Flying Applesauce

GoGo Squeez, a healthy on-the-go snack company, collaborated with MKG to launch the activation tour of their unique, interactive vending machine by dropping applesauce packets from the sky to park visitors.  The machine, nicknamed as the “Goodness Machine,” was created by Square Design and designed by MKG to imitate the company’s distinctive snack packet. By pressing a button on the device, students were asked to catch a flying applesauce packet launched from the top. Children caught the packets, which were affixed to parachutes bearing the GoGo Squeez label and the hashtag #CatchtheGoGo. 

Square Design MKG Goodness Machine GoGo Squeez Flying Applesauce interactive vending machine

Carvana Car Vending Machine

Carvana currently has 28 car vending machines. The vending machines are a creative way for people to test drive vehicles and then sign/buy the car if they decide they want to keep it. Buyers go online and select a vehicle they want to test drive, receive a digital token, go to the nearest vending machine, watch their car be retrieved from the multi-level machines, take it for a spin, and then buy – if they so choose. 

Carvana Vending Machine in Dallas TX

Moet & Chandon Champagne Machine

In 2016, Moet & Chandon introduced its Champagne vending machine, which quickly gained popularity at events including galas, parties, and fundraisers. The unique vending machine combines facial recognition, video, customizable backgrounds, and augmented reality to enable ecard sharing. 

#moetmoment Moet & Chandon Champagne Machine

Gatorade Electrolyte Gym

Gatorade set up a “talking” vending machine where sweat was the only acceptable form of payment, in order to highlight the advantages of its drinks in replacing the electrolytes lost during exercise. In a crowded gym, the brand took the place of a standard vending machine. Gym-goers were shocked to discover that the Gatorade machine didn’t accept cash when they went to buy a rehydrating beverage after their workout. The talking machine instead offered a challenge: work for it. The device scanned the individual in front of it and measured the amount of heat produced by exercise in that person’s body. If their temperature fell below a specific point, they were seen to not be working as hard as they could have been and were encouraged to put in more effort.

Sweat it out for Gatorade's experiential vending machine

Vending Machine Rentals are Only a Part of What We Can Do.

eTech Rentals is a technology rental company providing a vast array of event rentals to support meeting planners and event management professionals in Southern California and beyond. In addition to fully wrapped and branded vending machines, we offer event charging stations and kiosks, Wi-Fi hotspot rentals, laptops, desktop computers, cell phones, tablets, VR equipment and more. We work closely with event planners, IT managers, production coordinators, project managers, as well as operations directors to supply the technology and expertise to get the job done right.

To ask about vending machines or full packaged solutions, contact our rental experts or submit the quick eQuote form today and experience what easy, effective service truly feels like!