Push a button and share a hashtag to get free ramen, games, or swag with the Dream Machine, a Raspberry Pi–driven vending machine built by FOODBEAST and Nissin.

Raspberry Pi and marketing

Digital viral marketing campaigns are super popular right now, thanks to the low cost of the technology necessary to build bespoke projects for them. From story-telling phoneboxes to beer-pouring bicycles, we see more and more examples of such projects appear in our inbox every week.

The latest campaign we like is the Dream Machine, a retrofit vending machine that dispenses ramen noodles, video games, and swag in exchange for the use of an Instagram hashtag.

Free ramen from FOODBEAST and Nissin

With Dream Machines in Torrance, California and Las Vegas, Nevada, I’ve yet to convince Liz that it’s worth the time and money for me to fly out and do some field research. But, as those who have interacted with a Dream Machine know, the premise is pretty simple.

The Dream Machine vending machine from FOODBEAST and NissanPress the big yellow button on the front of the vending machine, and it will tell you a unique hashtag to use for posting a selfie with the Dream Machine on Instagram. The machine’s internet-enabled Raspberry Pi brain then uses its magic noodle powers (or, more likely, custom software) to detect the hashtag and pop out a tasty treat, video game, or gift card as a reward.

The Dream Machine vending machine from FOODBEAST and Nissan

The Dream Machines appeared at the start of March, and online sources suggest they’ll stay in their current locations throughout the month. I’d like to take this moment to suggest their next locations: Cambridge, UK and Oakland, California. Please and thank you!

Hold your horses…

We know this is a marketing ploy. We know its intention is to get Joe Public to spread the brand across social media. We know it’s all about money. We know. But still, it’s cool, harmless, and delicious. So let’s not have another robocall debate, OK ?


Joseph Alway avatar

Top Ramen is my favorite brand as far as Instant Ramen goes. (Which apparently is a Nissin Foods brand.) It’s hard to be the convenience of Instant Ramen, but it’s definitely not healthy / particularly good. As I’ve grown older, I find it’s much better to take a couple extra minutes to make real noodles.

My preferred way of making instant Ramen:
1.) Open the Instant Ramen Package.
2.) Throw away the useless seasoning packet.
3.) Add spices, usually including the following ingredients: Garlic Salt, Sweet Basil, Crushed Chili Pepper, and whatever oil I have on hand.
4.) Add frozen peas, for extra protein and it just tastes better.
5.) Add boiling water and / or add water and microwave.

AndrewS avatar

“Very Veggie BEEF FLAVOR” ? Ummm…

Alex Bate avatar

A lot of meat-flavoured noodles are veggie. Beef Super Noodle are vegan :D

Kelly Sousa avatar

Bring this to DREAMFORCE 2019!

ameyring avatar

Will be more fun to play a challenging game for the reward of food – better (or more) food for higher scores!

Nirav avatar

Looks yummy!

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