- Creative agency Conscious Minds placed vending machines in several locations as part of an off-beat promotion for its feature documentary "Social Animals" that's now available on iTunes. The machines have a TV-shaped "As Seen on IG" label and sell fake packaged goods that parody Instagram features while critiquing "the commodification of self" on social media, according to an announcement shared with Mobile Marketer.
- The mock products include "1,000 likes," "Witty Captions," a "Thumb Spa" for fingers worn out from scrolling a smartphone screen, "Food Porn Star" cookies and "Hashtag 8-Balls." The vending machines were placed in several Instagram-famous locations like the Ace Hotel Downtown and World Famous Venice Barbershop in Los Angeles and the Del Mar lounge in San Francisco, with additional locations to be announced.
- All proceeds from the machines will go to Reboot & Recover, a non-profit organization dedicated to treating digital addiction and promoting social media mental health. Creative Minds created the machines in partnership with e-commerce startup Gist.
Conscious Minds' vending machine installations are a novel way to promote its documentary about three teens and their Instagram usage. By selling mock items like packages of exotic travel photos and "likes," the machines reinforce the film's message that social media users are essentially marketing themselves in a quest for attention and social validation. The film's message is timely amid concerns that a recent surge in major depression rates among teens and young adults coincides with social media usage. The effect of social media on children's brain chemistry has been the subject of recent health studies and discussions that liken social media usage to dangerous alcohol and drug addictions.
Even though the movie "Social Animals" decries unhealthy usage of social media, its marketing campaign still could go viral on social media given its novelty and droll humor that people may share with their online friends. Out-of-home (OOH) ad campaigns have been around for years, but integrating them with smartphone interaction is becoming more popular. JetBlue, YouTube and Pepsi are among the brands whose outdoor campaigns included augmented reality (AR) experiences or some other kind of mobile component while Nike and others have been testing vending machines.
Brands that dedicate 15% or more of their media budgets to OOH advertising had a 24% increase in brand trust and 106% increase in perception of brand quality, a study this year indicated. The OOH spend also boosted customer loyalty 275%, and were related to an effectiveness boost of 31% for online advertising, 80% for paid search and 56% for social media, according to Rapport, the OOH division of IPG Mediabrands.