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Category: Excellent Elements/Applications   Exhibitor: Scion, a brand of Toyota Motor Sales USA Inc.  Design: George P. Johnson, Torrance, CA, 310-965-4300, www.gpj.com  Fabrication: AVT Inc., Corona, CA, 877-424-3663, www.avtinconline.com   Show: North American International Auto Show, 2014  Budget: $80,000 – $149,000  Size: 97-by-72 feet

PHOTOS: KATHRYN RAPIER PHOTOGRAPHY
Social-Media Machine
By Lena Hewitt

It's true that a picture is worth a thousand words, but when paired with Near-Field Communication (NFC) and social media, a picture can also be worth a thousand impressions. That's why Toyota Motor Sales USA Inc. worked with experiential-marketing firm George P. Johnson to deploy a photo-sharing tactic for its Scion brand. "We wanted to use social media to activate an engagement that leveraged the power of mobile devices and provided instant gratification for booth visitors," said Stuart Fingerhut, creative director at GPJ.

Scion and Fingerhut devised a tactic that captured the interest of attendees and rewarded them for participation: unconventional vending machines. Dubbed Scion Swag Machines, the 36-by-36-by-70-inch boxes featured doodles and text that instructed people to use their phones to take photos, and then share them by either touching their devices to an NFC sensor or posting the pics to Instagram using a show-specific hashtag.

The images then popped up on 32-inch flatscreen monitors on the front of the machines and were also displayed on the exhibit's Master Dashboard — an installation comprising 80 monitors attached to a ceiling structure. Once the photos were shared, a "dispense" command was sent from the front-end video-playing app to the internal vending-machine software. Then, Scion swag (branded toy cars, hats, etc.) dropped into bins for attendees to retrieve.

The image-driven innovation caught the eyes of Exhibit Design Awards judges, one of whom said, "It's smart to pair delivery of something attendees want (tchotchkes) with a unique delivery medium (vending machines)."

By appealing to its target market's affinity for selfies and rewarding every engagement with branded goods, Scion's in-booth experience was picture perfect. E

The Photo Booth
Nestled inside Scion's 97-by-72-foot exhibit, the Scion Swag Machines dispensed branded promotional items in exchange for hashtagged Instagram posts. Once attendees shared their pics, the images appeared on the machines' monitors along with personalized thank-you notes. The photos also populated the booth's mega Master Dashboard, an installation comprising 80 flatscreen monitors that displayed all social-media activity concerning Scion.


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