Deposit Bits of Nature Into Old Spice’s Weird Vending Machine, Get Even Stranger Stuff Back

Got a pinecone? Trade it for a Sega Genesis

Headshot of Kristina Monllos

To promote a new collection of scents—Timber, Amber and Citron—Old Spice has placed a rather generous and oddly specific machine in Grand Central Terminal's Vanderbilt Hall.

Nestled behind fake pine trees and prickly plastic grass, the giant vending machine lets passersby submit various items found in nature (snake skin, owl pellets, brain coral, etc.) and reap corresponding rewards. 

The brand's vending machine, which became open to the public today, will be in Grand Central until Saturday, Feb. 14. Submitting easy-to-find items like a leaf or a dozen acorns will score you low-rent prizes like a firm handshake and mashed potatoes with gravy, respectively.

Weirder items offer better payouts. An African horned melon will win you a pair of tickets for the NBA All-Star Game. Got a 6-inch bamboo stick? You've got yourself a $1,000 scholarship to wrestling school. Abalone shell? A fake Vince Lombardi trophy is yours.

You can find the full list below, but here's a video explaining the idea:

To drive off in the classic bright-red Lotus, you'll need to be lucky enough to find a seven-leaf clover.

On hand to introduce the new scent collection were brand spokesman Terry Crews and 2012 Miss Universe Olivia Culpo. A picnic date with Culpo was part of the vending machine's wares, but a young man decked out in a crisp red blazer submitted a camellia flower to the machine and won the prize. 

How does the machine work? How do you deposit four amoebas? How does it know the difference between a shark tooth and a shark tooth fossil? Most importantly, how many of each prize are up for grabs?

Old Spice representatives were vague about such details.

Of the machine and the brand's kooky advertising, Old Spice spokeswoman Kate DiCarlo did tell Adweek: "We pride ourselves on trying to entertain men while we build brand loyalty and that means trying new things. If it's been done before we're probably not going to do it, or if we've done it before, we're probably not going to do it again." 

Translation: this weekend's vending machine could be a one-time-only deal, so grab all the pinecones, sea grass and black sand that you can carry and try to win the Sega Genesis, Laserdisc player and 100-pound Olympic dumbell while they last. 

Here's the full list of what to bring and what it could win for you:

Trilobite fossil: Leather chair

Lichen: Snow skis

Shark tooth fossil: Karate lessons

Seven-leaf clover: Automobile

Six-inch Bamboo Stick: $1,000 scholarship to wrestling school

One leaf: A firm handshake

Brain coral: Bungee jump vacation

Owl pellet: Telescope

Prickly pear: Giant medieval tapestry

One camellia Flower: Picnic meal (with a supermodel)

A sprig of sea grass: Laserdisc player

A cup of black sand: 100-pound Olympic dumbbell

Five potatoes: Autographed baseballs

A very smooth river rock: Nautical sextant

One typha/cattail: Badger skull

Lava rock: Gold watches

An African horned melon: one pair NBA All-Star Game Tickets

Pyrite: Electric guitar

Ocean water: All the wadded up cash from a rich guy's pocket

Fist-sized rock: Hot dog

Thistles: 1980s-style Oakley Blades sunglasses

Pine needles: Root beer float

Abalone shell: Fake Vince Lombardi Trophy

Pinecone: Sega Genesis

Lily pad: Xbox One

A snake skin: Ninja outfit with fake throwing stars

Four amoeba: Darryl Strawberry rookie card

Leaves, Sticks, Twigs: Old Spice Fresher Collection products

Dozen acorns: Mashed potatoes and gravy

Shark tooth: Roller Blades 

@KristinaMonllos Kristina Monllos is a senior editor for Adweek.