An innovative product distribution idea emerged at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) earlier this year. It’s called Prize Monkey, and it uses mobile web technology to connect cell phones to interactive vending machines. The draw: consumers are instantly rewarded for interacting with brands.
“Consumers love getting free stuff over a giveaway entry, but they need an easy and controlled platform for their interactions,” explains Brad Thorne, Prize Monkey’s co-founder. “Do something now, get something now is a concept we can all understand.”
Prize Monkey invites users to interact with one of three different monkey characters using a mobile phone. These interactions usually revolve around easy games to play. “The games make it fun out of the gate,” Thorne says. “People seem to respond to the characters rather than just a simple transaction you’d find at something like an ATM.”
If users win, they’re directed to a kiosk containing a prize vending machine to pick up their gift. “We call it the ‘unkiosk’ since it is only responding to the interactions hosted on the mobile devices,” Thorne says. Once the interaction is complete, PrizeMonkey delivers prizes to the users.
For brands, the good thing about Prize Monkey is that the whole process is automated, so brand messaging is consistent, data is tracked and costs are kept low. “Brands are happy to step up and spend the budgets on promotional items, but they are concerned that their message can get lost in translation coupled with spotty data capturing,” Thorne says. “It’s designed to engage people wherever they may be carrying their mobile devices. Every company has a need for consumers to take their phones out and do something.”
Prize Monkey launched at CES, but Thorne says the company already has projects in the works with theme parks, airports, shopping malls and colleges. Looking ahead, the company is planning to launch a new interface that will let Prize Monkey integrate with traditional loyalty programs, allowing users to easily redeem points for items.