The Tech Behind Hot Wheel’s Tweet-Powered Vending Machine

Over 1,500 auto enthusiasts received a Hot Wheels toy car from a Twitter activated vending machine at the Canadian International Autoshow, which came to a close on Sunday. Made by TrojanOne, the vending machine was the same type of spinning coil machine that dispenses chocolate bars, but it was retrofitted with a Raspberry Pi – a […]


Over 1,500 auto enthusiasts received a Hot Wheels toy car from a Twitter activated vending machine at the Canadian International Autoshow, which came to a close on Sunday.

Made by TrojanOne, the vending machine was the same type of spinning coil machine that dispenses chocolate bars, but it was retrofitted with a Raspberry Pi – a very small computer – and connected to the internet.

The agency’s programmers then wrote a script allowing the machine to search for for the handle @HotWheelsCanada and #ChevyCIAS, a hashtag promoted by Hot Wheels’ co-marketing partner, Chevrolet Canada.

It also used geolocation technology to determine whether tweets were being sent from the auto show or another location. If the tweet was sent from in front of the machine and the user followed @HotWheelsCanada, it dispensed a 1:64-scale 1968 Camaro, a toy coveted by Hot Wheels collectors.

Over the course of the 10-day show, the company gave away over 1,500 of the toys through the vending machine. It also tripled its follower count, from 1,200 to almost 4,000 during the auto show.

Mark Stewart, director of digital services at Trojan One, said the program’s objective was largely to create positive brand sentiment both in person and on the social web.

“It was the engagement on site that was important,” he said. “It turned men into boys. They’d say, ‘Oh, I love this car sitting here and I get this Hot Wheels collectible. It had them dreaming about owning it one day.”

There was no social media buy associated with the initiative.

Brands Articles

Tangerine releases followup to ‘Hard Work’ brand anthem

Online bank takes a more product-focused approach with new spot

Turkish Airlines keeps Canadian marketing aloft following attacks

Carrier steps up sponsorship, advertising despite terrorist activity in Istanbul

BlackBerry to cease smartphone production

Company will license technology and brand to third parties following financial losses

President’s Choice, MEC top 2016 Brand Trust Index

Tim Hortons, Canadian Tire and others fall out of the top 10

Moneris predicts the (almost) end of cash

Survey finds 25% of young Canadians prefer paying with a mobile wallet

Coca-Cola brings mid-calorie drink to Canada

Naturally sweetened 'Life' brand launches with extensive campaign

Marie Callender’s aims to free moms of mealtime guilt

ConAgra-owned frozen entrée brand launches campaign with real moms

Ace Bakery rises up with first campaign

'Discover Great Bread' is based on consumer truths about bread

Activia brand positioning shifts from function to emotion

Canadian rollout relies heavily on digital to court millennial women