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Coca Cola Vending Machine Campaign Means you Really can buy the World a Coke

By Joe Cox

In the 1970’s Coca Cola launched a television advert with a group of people on a hilltop (some of you out there may even remember it) singing about how ‘they’d like to buy the world a coke.’ The advert was a success at the time but the idea behind it seemed implausible and more sentiment than anything else.

Now Google have teamed up with the drinks giant to make the idea of buying the world a coke an actual reality. Google’s ‘Project Re: Brief’ as it is known is basically a B2B marketing exercise from the internet company with Coke on board as a partner. 

So what’s it all about. Well, using a mobile app, a consumer in London could buy a Coke for someone in New York, or Buenos Aires or wherever one of Coca Colas compatible vending machine is situated. In essence the mobile app user can send a complete stranger a ‘gift’ of a free drink which they can claim at the vending machine. What’s more the sender can watch a video of the person’s surprised reaction and perhaps even get a note from them to say thank you (that’s if the recipient chooses to do so). Later, the sender can post the video to friends on Facebook, Twitter or Google+.

Not only does the campaign showcase the incredible possibilities in vending and digital communication technologies, but it is a fitting continuation of a marketing campaign Coca Cola started over 30 years ago.

“What we’re trying to do is move from online community talking about happiness to provoking it in real life,” says Jackie Jantos, global creative director at Coca-Cola.

It’s certainly a clever concept but with only four machines in the marketing campaign, it was clearly never intended to be rolled out on a commercial scale. So there is no intention of Coca Cola yet to start a new craze for impromptu altruistic coke giving moments but that’s not to say this couldn’t one day be commonplace. 

I for one think it is very exciting from a vending machine perspective. It gives us a glimpse into a world where vending machines are no longer the autonomous single-function machines we know today but connected into a global network of interlinked technologies and the users that operate them. 




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