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Special Project

Special Project
From the 7th Annual Shorty Awards

Ballantine's Check In Machine

Finalist in IRL Activation


Ballantine's Check In Machine is a connected golf ball dispenser. It automatically pops out a free Ballantine's golf ball when triggered by a check in on Facebook. The machine was on tour at golf clubs in Sweden at Ballantine's whisky tastings. For each local event we created a new Facebook check in and connected that to the machine, using Raspberry Pi. Ballantine's Check In Machine created an incentive to check in on Facebook and gave our client much more visibility via all the Facebook check ins the machine created. We raised the rate of check ins from 0% of the visitors to 50% and reached 30 times more people thanks to our social reach.

Our challenge that led to our solution is that alcohol marketing in Sweden is highly restricted. The only way to market alcohol is by creating incentives for the target group to spread the brand by themselves. In this case the target audience were middle aged golfers, not the most digital and social group around. But they like Facebook and to check in. So the strategy was to create a fun way to raise the amounts of check ins. That's why we built the Ballantine's Check In Machine.

Strategy and Execution

Our Ballantine's Check In Machine is a highly strategic solution to a marketing challenge: In Sweden it's illegal to do creative bought content when it comes to alcohol marketing. The only way to market alcohol is mainly via earned media, when the target audience spread the brand by themselves. Ballantine's Check In Machine is an answer to that; the target audience wants a free Ballantine's golf ball from a funny machine and for each check in Ballantine's get visibility for their brand in the Facebook feeds of the ones that check in.

The machine itself is highly creative as well with a programmed Raspberry Pi computer that we conntected to Facebook's API. Via a CMS we could decide what check ins at a certain Facebook place would trigger the machine. So for each new event we just changed what Place that would be the trigger for the machine. When someone then checks in, the machine pops out a golf ball after just one second. It's highly entertaining to check in and then see how the machine pops out a golf ball.

The result: Each event had approx 60 visitors and our check in rate was 50 %. If each Facebook person has 300 friends, out of which 20% sees a check in in general, this means that we had a reach of 54 000 people since the machine was at 30 events. So instead of reaching just 1800 persons at the events, we reached 30 times more people!

Last but not least, our budget was low; below 10 000 American dollars.


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