- The pop-up Coca-Cola machine at the National University of Singapore requires a hug, not coins, to dispense a can of fizzy drink, according to Forbes.
Emblazoned with "Hug Me" in its signature font, the hug-operated machine drew dozens to embrace the dispenser.
- It is a part of Coca-Cola's global "Open Happiness" campaign that encourages consumers to open a can of Coke to share happiness.
The campaign made its debut in 2009 on "American Idol" with a musical number and is behind its "Happiness Truck" gimmick that dispenses cans of Coke with the push of a button and has travelled worldwide.
- It is a joint initiative with the soft drink giant and marketing firm Ogilvy & Mather.
“Happiness is contagious. The Coca-Cola Hug Machine is a simple idea to spread some happiness,” said Leonardo O’Grady, ASEAN IMC Director, the Coca-Cola Company in a statement.
"Reactions were amazing…people really had fun with it and at one point we had four to five people hugging the machine at the same time as well as each other! In fact, there was a long line of people looking to give hugs – it was really heartwarming," he said.
- So far, the hug-operated machine is in Singapore only but with its wild popularity, it is set to launch across Southeast Asia as well.
And the coverage is leaving consumers in North America pining to hug a dispenser.
- But, like Gizmodo warns, the vending machine will not hug you back. After all, it is a machine.
- It is, however a cunning marketing ploy, Gizmodo notes.
"[Coke] will give away its product in return for displays of affection. It's an explicit call to do what brands always hope consumers will do, which is to form an emotional attachment to the product. It's striking, if not an entirely new concept.
- Known for its brilliant marketing, Coca-Cola was ranked as the No. 1 global brand for its social media marketing by Covario because of its engagement and visibility.
- Its famously-adored polar bears went meta at Super Bowl XLVI in February. Starring in a Super Bowl commercial for the first time, the bears were reacting to the game and other ads in real time.
- But the white-theme Coke cans unveiled in November were snubbed by Coke drinkers who confused them for Diet Coke.
Would you hug a vending machine for a free Coke? Why or why not? What else would you do for a free product? Let us know in the comments section below.