What happens when you put a classic gumball machine and Foursquare together? Customers have a fun incentive to check in with Check’n Chew, a new interactive play on geolocation.
Geolocation service Foursquare has over 20 million users and allows users to check-in at locations. Check-ins are shared with friends on Foursquare and can also be shared on Facebook, providing free advertising for vendors whenever consumers choose to use the service.
It took over three months to develop Check ‘n Chew, a gumball machine that dispenses a free gumball whenever a patron checks in via Foursquare at that location (in close proximity to the machine). The reward is basically immediate – the gumball drops within a second or two after checking in.
According to creator Tyler DeAngelo, “This gumball machine allows people to tell their friends they are at your location. That will appear on Facebook and Foursquare. They purchase a gumball to check in, or announce they are at a location through Foursquare.” The gumball is effectively purchased through “social media currency.”
This can be a powerful tool for venues: if the average Facebook user has 300 friends, 10 check-ins at a specific location could be seen by 3,000 people on the social network. “The value comes from the impression you can garner from someone checking in,” says DeAngelo.
Why the gumball machine? DeAngelo tells Vending Times that he wanted a device with a “ubiquitous, familiar and instantly understandable nature” where “the exchange is immediate.” Every customer checking in gets a reward in realtime – and helps to build your brand. “It’s a slightly different way of thinking of the role of a vending machine.”
Vending Times notes that the same concept could be applied to videogames, jukeboxes, pool tables – nearly any machine with a coin mechanism or bill acceptor.
Could the concept spark a new trend, pairing bulk vending with social media? We covered a dog-food dispensing billboard back in April of 2011, but dispensing treats (or games, or music) for people has significantly more potential. What do you think?