CHICAGO -- The National Automatic Merchandising Association's traveling vending show made its final stops this week, drawing crowds in downtown Minneapolis on Oct. 11 and at the University of Wisconsin on Oct. 13.
An estimated 7,000 people flooded Peavy Plaza in downtown Minneapolis on Tuesday, where they interacted with state-of-the-art vending machines and sampled free products. Some 11,000 consumers -- primarily University of Wisconsin students -- came out in full force for the Gratitude Tour's climax in Madison yesterday.
The tour prompted an active Twitter conversation among the college students, reinforcing NAMA's strategy of reaching Generation Y by building a positive buzz about vending.
NAMA officials also enrolled hundreds more vending fans for its Vend.Love.Win. Facebook contest at this week's events. They also spoke with hundreds of participants to find out what new products they want to see in machines, along with the locations where they'd like to see vending equipment. NAMA will provide this feedback to operators through its "Vend This" and "Vend Here" programs, which are part of its Facebook campaign.
The month-long Gratitude Tour kicked off with great fanfare in Boston on September 12 and continued with strong turnouts in New York, Atlanta and Phoenix before culminating in the Midwest. The vending fairs drew high-profile news media coverage at every stop.