Would You Hug a Vending Machine for a Free Coke?

A look at the soda company's new 'Open Happiness' campaign

Students at the National University of Singapore have been caught on tape hugging a Coca-Cola vending machine, and it's not because they're really desperate for a jolt of caffeine before their next class, or because they're crazy. It's because the machine told them to.

According to reports, the school's recently installed "Hug Me" Coke machine, which dispenses a free can of Coke when you hug its sides, is part of the soda brand's newly launched "Open Happiness" campaign. And apparently, the hope is that the experience will leave people in a more "Kumbaya" frame of mind. (Also, presumably, to have consumers associate Coke with nice, warm-and-fuzzy acts like hugging.)

As a company representative explained in a statement, "The Coca-Cola Hug Machine is a simple idea to spread some happiness. 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."

It's a nice thought. But really, watching the video kind of feels like the point of the excercise is to see whether or not someone will risk looking a little awkward in public to get a free treat. Or to see if people will take orders from inanimate objects. You decide.

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