College students on some 45 campuses this fall will notice wall-mounted vending machines that sell a variety of products. But what will likely stick out the most are the digital ads streaming on the machines from the likes of Hershey, Kiehl's and Think Jerky.
Vengo Labs, which makes the machines, has inked a deal with Blackstone LaunchPad, an entrepreneurship-focused campus player. They'll introduce the former's kiosks to the halls of New York University, Syracuse University, University of Southern California and University of Central Florida, among other schools. The machines will offer passersby tech accessories, personal care items, snacks, etc.
"The campuses that will be exposed to Vengo will serve as a testing ground for future product expansion across campuses in the U.S. and beyond," said Amy Stursberg, executive director at Blackstone Charitable Foundation, in a statement.
In addition to the digital ads, branded placements can include actual product in the machines and physical wraps around the machines. These business-to-business marketers are promising actionable data to boot.
"With the real-time analytics, we can provide services from simply monitoring customers' gestures and purchase behaviors to sharing a ton of learnings with other Blackstone LaunchPad members to help them know what's working," stated Brian Shimmerlik, CEO, Vengo Labs.
Vengo Labs biggest claim to fame may be getting a $2 million deal on ABC's Shark Tank from investors Kevin O'Leary and Lori Greiner. No doubt that O'Leary and Greiner will be watching how this deal matures this autumn and beyond.
Meanwhile, the development is the latest example of how digital out-of-home advertising is finding new ways of being everywhere. For instance, there are now essentially small ad networks for double-decker buses, targeting tourists in big cities. And the space is also becoming a lucrative medium for video advertisers, while transit stations in Montreal are getting "digital faces."