In Singapore this week, hugging a Coca-Cola vending machine will get you a free soda. No, it’s not a sudden outreach from the robots we’ve created. It’s part of a campaign started by Coca-Cola called, appropriately, the ‘Open Happiness’ campaign. It’s not the weirdest campaign Coca-Cola’s taken on and it certainly doesn’t trump Pepsi’s social networking vending machines. Still, it’s raising eyebrows and bringing a little joy all over Singapore.
The vending machine looks like any other Coca-Cola owned machine. It’s the classic red with a swirling white script across the front. In place of the brand name, however, are the words “Hug Me”. There are no options or buttons, only a machine patiently waiting for its hug. It’s a strange command you might not want to test out the first time in front of friends. Hugging the inanimate object, as terrible an idea as that sounds like, yields a reward. A soda pops out when the machine senses it’s received a hug in the same way one would after the right amount of cash was inserted.
The vending machine was installed overnight at the National University of Singapore, making it a confusing little oddity for anyone who happened upon it the next day. The hug-hungry machine piqued curiosity and rewarded anyone willing to satisfy it, which made it a huge success. It begs the question, though: Would you hug a machine that asked you to? There’s really only one way to find out, and those States-side will have to wait a while. The campaign is set to spread across Asia first and then makes its way out globally.
Check out the videos below to see the machine in action: