- Nissin Foods teamed with food and drink blog Foodbeast to create a vending machine that trades Instagram posts for prizes, the media company announced. The first machine was installed at the Del Amo Fashion Center in Torrance, California, on March 1 and the second one will arrive at the Las Vegas Premium Outlets South on March 6.
- The Foodbeast Dream Machine looks like an ordinary vending machine, except it has a video screen and a button that Instagram users can press to receive a unique hashtag. They can then post a selfie with the machine on the social media site and write a caption that includes the hashtag and @foodbeast and @originalcupnoodles account names.
- The machine then instantly dispenses a free prize, such as Cup Noodles, video games, gift vouchers or branded Cup Noodles merchandise. Fans can follow the @foodbeastdreammachine account on Instagram to see more locations for the vending machines.
Foodbeast's Dream Machines are a quirky way to appeal to young adults and teens who are most likely to use social media apps and eat low-cost prepared foods like Cup Noodles. While the vending machines are limited to two locations so far, the Instagram hashtag component aims to extend the campaign's reach by connecting with participants' social followers and loyal fans of Cup Noodles in a memorable way.
Cup Noodles has previously leveraged Instagram to run contests, such as a merchandise giveaway in December that asked fans to visit a nearby Walmart and snap a picture of its new Very Veggie flavor on store shelves.
Nissin's creative marketing campaigns over the past year have included an e-commerce microsite with limited-edition merchandise for its Cup Noodles and Top Ramen brands. Last year, the food company partnered with video game maker Square Enix to promote "Dissidia Final Fantasy NT" with packaging that could be redeemed for exclusive downloadable content. Fans who bought specially marked packs of noodles featuring characters from the game could text a photo of their receipt to the phone number on the package to receive a unique game code.
Along with Nissin, brands including Revlon, Busch, Secret and VitaminWater have run social media campaigns around contests and giveaways. Typically, those campaigns urge people to follow social media accounts of their respective brands and to post photos with a specific hashtag, with the intention of gaining a larger follower base and drumming up user-generated content on social media.
Such social media campaigns are a creative way to reach young adults and teens who have mostly tuned out of watching live TV in favor of streaming services and mobile alternatives. As the fall broadcast season started in October, the number of people ages 18 to 34 using TV dropped 15% from a year earlier, bringing the total decline to 36% from 2014, per Nielsen data cited by USA Today. The portion of that age group that watches streaming media is forecast to rise to more than 50% this year from 21% in 2014, ad firm Magna estimated.