How to make FREE samples into a branded experience?

Coca-cola_Invisible Vending Machine #ShareaCoke_SparrowMountain_TaoJiang

Coca-cola_Invisible Vending Machine #ShareaCoke

Does your brand give away free samples to customers? Will them remember your brand after they try your samples?

In traditional experimental marketing, brands give away free samples to promote their products so the customers could try the products. This technique has been used so often for many years that people take them for granted. Getting free samples easily does not make a memorable experience, neither a great brand story to share with friends.

How could brands make that an amazing experience so that they can maximize ROI of marketing?

Brands need make the experience special:

Make it personal:

Korean company Chungjungone created a personal engaging campaign called Tasting: sales people gave samples for people to try; at the mean time, their pictures were taken and printed to put on the personalized Chungjungone products. Suddenly, the backdrop pulled up with three famous TV food judges: of course they love the products. Also organized crowd were there to watch the whole process to add ambient atmosphere. The campaign was well thought from concept to execution. It got 2,823,237 YouTube views and gives customers a good story to share with friends.

The Chungjungone Mysterious Tasting / hidden camera

It works because:

  1. Magic, surprise, unexpected shock with positive emotion 
  2. Celebrity involvement 
  3. Crowd participation
  4. Seamless execution
  5. Personalized photos on product labels 
  6. Great story to share

Make it magic:

Coca-Cola created a virtual vending machine for couples only: An invisible vending machine that show up only when a couple pass by. Then it shows sequence of graphic animations. After the couple told the machine their names, a personalized coke cans gift. The video got 198,981 YouTube views. This campaign used same principles to engage the customers. It created magic moments with surprise; give away personalized products at the end; a love story to share.

Invisible Vending Machine #ShareaCoke

Coca-Cola used motion sensor to detect when the couple get closer to the invisible machine. But you don’t have to use complicated technology to achieve a good campaign. Nutrella used simple camera and speaker to pull the effect off: They set up a giant mirror on the street. When people passing by, the mirror starts to give positive comments about the person to make them feel good. In the end, a gift bag of their new bread products are given to the person to promote healthy living.

Nutrella: Friendly Mirror

The campaign is simple  and effective. It combined the element of surprise with brand message: eat good food, you feel good inside and out.

Make them work for it:

see post : How far does people go for FREE samples?

Make it interactive:

see post : Don’t just give away FREE samples! Make it interactive!

Next time when you give away free samples, make sure that experience is so special that they will remember your brand and want to share the story with others. You will be amazed that people are willing to do all kinds of things in public to get free samples. Why? As social animals we really want to be personalized, engaged, involved and have fun. Personalization and rewards both go a long way for brand loyalty. 

Try to:

  • Make it personal
  • Make it magic
  • Make them work for it
  • Make it interactive

What is your best free sample experience?

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