"It's the only one of its kind and it's the first one that we know of that is Twitter-activated ," said Donald Swanepoel, creative director at marketing agency Cow Africa.The campaign aimed to get people to taste the tea, which is made with local rooibos tea and blended with fruit flavours, while spreading awareness of the brand.
"Whenever someone tweets it, all their followers read about BOS and obviously the novelty of it being a tweet-activated vending machine meant that a whole lot of media has picked up on the story and that's also gone onto the social media channels," he added.The machine will leave the Cape Town mall on Friday and there are plans for a national tour.
BEV, a high-tech vending machine from the South African beverage company BOS Ice Tea, requires tweets, not cash for a taste of its teas. To receive a free sample of BOS Ice Tea, users standing in front of the device simply need to tweet to the company using a specific hashtag.To ensure that the machine won’t be overwhelmed by Twitters users around the world, BEV has built in safeguards that only pay attention to those sending tweets in the immediate area of the machine.
BEV also looks at the location data of the tweet and compares it to a predetermined boundary set by BOS. This means someone beyond a short distance from the machine won’t be able to activate BEV by simply adding the hashtag to their tweet. This also means the Twitter user has to add location data from their mobile device to the tweet.
The high-tech vending machine also comes equipped with a microphone, speaker and camera in addition to a colorful variety of LED lights that shine erratically when a can of iced tea is dispensed. The BOS customer can watch a small video screen on the unit that displays a feed from a camera inside the machine that appears to be attached to the arm that picks up the drink.