“Kia Deploys T-Shirt Vending Machine to Promote Clothing Line at MTV Awards” by Mike Cole, Apparel Magazine

Innovative Vending Solution (IVS) whose automated machine solutions for the retail industry include new standalone vending machines that sell and market t-shirts, reports that it recently provided a t-shirt dispenser for Kia at the recent MTV Movie awards.

Kia’s machine was activated through SMS texting from cell phones. Texting the style and color requested to a special number would activate the machine and deliver a t-shirt of the Kia “Hamstar” to the customer within three seconds.

Kia is capitalizing on the popularity of its recent hamsters campaign (the hamsters are featured in commercials for its new Kia Soul and its Sorrento vehicles) to offer the “Hamstar” line of T-shirts, hats and hoodies. (Michael Sprague, Kia VP marketing, says the clothing line was a response to consumer demand. “We got a lot of inquiries from consumers about it, so it was always in the back of our minds,” he told Marketing Daily.)

Jeff Thibodeau, co-founder of IVS along with Patrick McDonald said the machines at the MTV awards “created a lot of buzz for Kia and was a great marketing tool for the new clothing line — What better way for companies to create a buzz about their product line than by interacting with the customer via text messaging — especially with a young target market.”

Beyond customizing machines, IVS provides sourcing t-shirt services and even designs graphics. It also finds locations to place machines to optimize sales.

The company also cites sustainability benefits of its retail vending machine solution, as it gives the marketer a sales opportunity that doesn’t require building or leasing retail space.