Coca-Cola has come up with a very innovative and attention-grabbing publicity stunt in Singapore - a vending machine which gives out free cans of Coke in return for hugs.
The ‘hug me’ machine is part of the company’s ‘Open Happiness’ campaign designed to target young people in a gesture-based marketing stunt, which is currently being tested out in Singapore.
Students at the National University of Singapore were surprised to find that the soft drinks giant had installed the vending machine on campus overnight.
But instead of the drinks brand’s logo, the words ‘Hug Me’ are emblazoned across its iconic red-and-white logo.
Instead of paying money, customers have to squeeze the sides of the drinks machine to receive a free can of Coke.
Public displays of affection are uncommon and have long been discouraged in Singapore, but are on the rise amongst young people.
The move is part of a campaign created by advertising firm Ogilvy ‘n’ Mather, and is ntended to position the brand as a non-threatening ally to demonstrating youth.
In a statement as part of the company’s Open Happiness campaign, Leonardo O’Grady, Coke’s Asia Pacific Director for Sparkling ‘n’ Activation Platforms, said that through the campaign the company wanted to spread some happiness.
“Happiness is contagious. The Coca Cola Hug Machine is a simple idea to spread some happiness,” the Daily Mail quoted O’Grady as saying."Our strategy is to deliver doses of happiness in an unexpected, innovative way to engage not only the people present, but the audience at large," O’Grady said.
Marketing gurus behind the innovative concept hope that it will encourage consumers to ‘bring positivity, optimism and fun into their lives’ and to ‘open a Coke and share a little happiness’.
The machines have been such a success that there are plans to roll them out across Asia.
"The reaction was amazing - 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," O’Grady added.