FOODBEAST, a digital media house known for breaking food news and creating visceral food experiences just debuted a social media-powered vending machine with legendary instant noodle company Nissin Foods USA. The machines will find their homes within Del Amo Fashion Center (near Lids) in Los Angeles County starting March 1, and Las Vegas Premium Outlets South (near Volcom) starting March 6.
Called the FOODBEAST #DreamMachines, these vending machines accept Instagram posts as currency and distribute free prizes in real time, after fans post with a specific hashtag on their public feed. Users will win free prizes that automatically vend within moments of posting, including Cup Noodles, video games, gift vouchers, Cup Noodles merchandise, and more.
How the Dream Machine works:
- Press the big button to get a unique hashtag.
- Post a photo with the machine on your Instagram using the special hashtag, and tag @foodbeast and @originalcupnoodles.
- Follow the instructions on the screen to win your free prize!
“What started as a joke in a campaign ideation session turned into a project combining web development, machine fabrication, wiring, networking,” said Rudy Chaney, CTO and Co-Founder of FOODBEAST. “We’re hoping this machine allows for the democratization of the Instagram influencer experience.”
Here’s an inside look at the build:
- Two retrofitted 1970s-model vending machines bought off Craigslist & Ebay
- Internet connected ‘Raspberry Pi’ computer installed within that virtually controls all aspects of the machine
- Hashtag session authentication system to verify posting and the active user
- Vending Machine Motor API to turn spirals and control at-random vending
- Web server running multiple sets of signals between Instagram API, vending machine API and the cloud
- Private VPN connectivity to encrypt data across the open web
- Custom interface atop newly affixed instruction screens
For Nissin Cup Noodles, this vending machine is a way to engage with their target audience in a contemporary, digital-driven fashion.
“We’ve had a great partnership between Cup Noodles and FOODBEAST and are excited to launch the Dream Machines for our fans,” said Jaclyn Park, Vice President of Marketing at Nissin Foods USA. “We know how active our fans are on social media, and the Dream Machines are a surprising new way we can connect with our fans and thank them with fun prizes for including Cup Noodles in their social conversations.”