This vending machine needs a hug. Really. Hug it and you’ll get a free Coke. It’s part of the company’s global happiness campaign. Could there be a clearer, more unintentional (or cringe-worthy) commentary on our feelings towards technology than this? Referencing the core of affect, from the press release: “Happiness is contagious. The Coca-Cola Hug Machine is a simple idea to spread some happiness.”
But, what if the company had given Cokes away to people who hugged each other (!) or to people who pretended to smile (like Unilever did in the video below this one)? Coke chose to reward people for hugging a (vending) machine – it feels less “happiness” and more Hal9000.
Last year Unilever developed an ice-cream vending machine with built-in facial recognition software that dispensed ice creams to happy (faces) people.