Hershey Uses Tech to Let Consumers Earn Samples, and Increase Sales

By Ad Age Staff Published on .

Affectiva, an MIT-backed startup, has developed a technology that reads and analyzes human emotion from a single expression. The obvious use is for market research, but Hershey Co. had a different idea.

Working with tech firm Wild Blue Technologies, Hershey wanted to use the technology to drive consumers down the grocery aisle. Consumers were invited to walk to the middle of the aisle, where they would find an Affectiva-powered kiosk prompting them to smile into the machine for a free sample.

Wild Blue Technologies, which worked with Hershey on the push, validated the effort by asking people to tell them if they'd come back and use the "smile" machine and technology again. The technology has other applications that companies like Hershey may explore at some point. Kellogg, for example, used it to test reactions to three different versions of an ad, Affectiva execs report.

If you want help figuring out how new technology can help your marketing, turn to Look Book.

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