CHICAGO -- Vending machines have long been the antidotes to snack attacks everywhere, and the National Automatic Merchandising Association is hoping to capitalize on vending's many fans who are enthusiastic enough to spread the message. So on Aug. 2, NAMA is launching the Vend.Love.Win. Facebook contest, the first component of the association's new industry growth strategy.
The eight-month contest invites fans to post creative photos or videos of their favorite vending machines or vended products for a chance to win prizes. Beginning on Tuesday, 20 Facebook users a month can win $200 for themselves or a charity of their choice, and be eligible for NAMA's $5,000 grand prize.
Entrants and voters are encouraged to check out the "Vend This" and "Vend Here" tabs on the contest's Facebook pages. These two tabs allow consumers to provide direct feedback to the vending industry about additional products they want to see in machines, plus new and different places where they would like to see vending machines located.
"There's a lot of buzz and change in the vending industry right now, and this program is one way to share that excitement with consumers," said NAMA executive vice-president and chief operating officer Dan Mathews.
Vend.Love.Win. kicks off a larger campaign designed to boost awareness and generate excitement among consumers about the vending experience. The program is geared largely to Gen Y consumers (ages 18-29) who, according to NAMA research, prefer vending to convenience, grocery and drug stores. Over the next several months, additional initiatives aimed at Gen Y will be revealed, including special events, giveaways, other social media efforts and new consumer technologies.
NAMA conducted comprehensive industry and consumer research to provide a foundation for its broad industry growth strategy The study found that four out of five consumers view vending favorably. In addition, Gen Y consumers showed strong interest in such vending innovations as touchscreen interfaces and cashless payment options. | SEE STORY
Vending operators and suppliers have expressed their enthusiasm for the Facebook promotion on the eve of its kickoff.
"This contest is going to help me communicate with my younger customers in a way that's meaningful to them," said Chuck Olson, owner of CNC Vending LLC (Houston, TX). "They're online, so that's where I want to be, too."
Tom Reynolds, vice-president of foodservice at PepsiCo, added, "We know consumers -- especially young adults -- crave opportunities to express themselves and they enjoy engaging in these types of interactive contests. The vending industry is eager to provide the tools for consumers to convey what they like and want in vending."
Operators can follow the contest at http://www.facebook.com/VendLoveWin