5 smart ways to enhance your experiential sampling campaign

Kraft Sampling Machine From smart vending machines to interactive installations, we selected the best methods to get your products into consumers’ hands.

Product sampling continues to rank among the most effective tactics of field marketing. Surely, sampling is great for getting your product in to consumers’ hands. However, Hotcow’s recent shopper research has revealed that just offering free stuff is not a good enough incentive for consumers to buy your product. Getting the all-important emotional engagement is key to repeat purchase and consumer loyalty.

While some brands struggle to make sense of new media initiatives, other brands are enjoying steady success thanks to the advances in technology and the creative approach in offering real and meaningful experiences to their consumers. The combination of sampling with elements of experiential marketing is proven to be the best way to create two-way interactions and emotional connectivity, allowing consumers to experience the brand, build trust, drive purchase and recommend it to friends.

Here we select the top 5 experiential sampling tactics that can be used to create deeper engagement with your consumers.

1. Smart Vending Machines

Using facial and gesture recognition technology, brands such as Coca-Cola, Unilever and Kraft are delighting consumers with amazing experiences around their sampling activities.

After the brilliant experiments with the Coca-Cola Happiness Machine, the brand created the Hug Me machine to target unsuspected students at the University of Singapore. In order to get a free drink, students had to demonstrate a bit of affection and give the machine a physical hug.

With a ‘smile-o-meter’, Unilever’s Share Happy Ice Cream machine allowed consumers to pick out their free ice-cream by prompting a big smile. Kraft, however, decided to go one step further and created a machine that identify users age and genders to distribute the new Jell-O Temptations dessert only for adults.

2. The Feel good-Factor

A fun and playful experience will create deep engagement and generate great talkability around your brand.

In a very innovative way, Tang invited kids for a roller coster ride where they could place their favorite Tang Re-Mix flavours in steady cups and let the roller coster shake up their drinks until the end of the ride.

Another great example is the Cinnabon Zero-Calorie campaign, inviting consumers to climb an escalator that was going down in order to get a free cinnamon roll.

3. Pop-up

Pop-up stores are an excellent way to deliver great brand experiences and tap into new locations to engage with different audiences.

With The Generous Store, the Danish chocolatier Anthon Berg set up a pop-up store, in which people could ‘buy’ chocolates with promise of a good deed to a friend or loved one.

4. Interactive installations

With new insights from Hotcow’s research project Building Brilliant Sampling Campaigns highlighting that consumers will try a sample if the stand looks visually appealing, going big and bold is a way to win consumers’ attention.

Hotcow’s award winner Honey Monster campaign was designed specifically to raise awareness and trial to the cereal brand. People got to immerse themselves in the world we created by choosing to have a photo with the brand’s iconic character, taking a product sample from the giant cereal box or play our “waffle wacker” game to win a prize.

5. Challenge led

Beyond creating amazing content, challenge led campaigns are a fantastic experiential marketing tactic to engage consumers into an unforgettable experience.

The series of social experiments from Ultrabook is a perfect example. With The Ultrabook Temptation stunts, the brand have created amazing challenges to explore what people are prepared to do to get their hands on a new Ultrabook laptop.

After all these great examples, if you are looking to enhance your sampling activity and add an experience into the mix, Hotcow is experienced in creating the very best sampling strategies and logistics that will lead into sales.


We have delivered targeted sampling campaigns with cost per samples ranging from 5p – 90p. We can help you to increase bottom line retail uplift by between 300% – 1600% and direct bottom line uplift between 2% – 24%.

For more information or free consultation, contact us.

Leave a Reply