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Newsletter #949 The “Lessons from Vending Machines” Issue

[Welcome back to the Damn, I Wish I’d Thought of That! newsletter. This is text of the great issue all of our email subscribers just received. Sign yourself up using the handy form on the right.]

Don’t have a physical location where you can interact with your customers? You can still make a fantastic impression and earn word of mouth.

Here’s how some companies are doing it with vending machines:

1. Making heroes
2. Making friends
3. Making a point
4. Check it out: Face to GIF

1. Making heroes

Molson Coors is known for their tagline, “I am Canadian.” So to bring that national pride to other parts of the world, the brewing company left locked fridges full of their beer in cities all over Europe. How do people get them open? By scanning a Canadian passport. That way, whoever comes across the fridge has to find a Canadian to open it. Imagine the scene of people standing around, eager for a beer saying, “We just need a Canadian!”

The lesson: This one is a two-fer: The fridge required people to spread the word about their beer to get it open, and Molson Coors made Canadians feel important — a huge motivator for word of mouth.

Learn more: Brand Flakes for Breakfast

2. Making friends

It might sound like something from a pageant, but Coca-Cola’s vending machines are working towards world peace. How? Coke placed connected vending machines in India and Pakistan with webcams and touchscreens. The machines let people in each country give the other a Coke if they completed a series of tasks together like touching hands to the screen, drawing a heart, or dancing. This meant people on either side of the webcam were gathering a crowd to watch and create remarkable experiences.

The lesson: By making this word of mouth stunt about world peace, Coke attached their company’s message to something worth talking about.

Learn more: Fast Company

3. Making a point

When Corelle says their dinnerware is chip-resistant, they mean it. So to prove it, they filled a vending machine with unprotected dishes. Customers could buy a dish from the machine, watch it drop, and see for themselves how durable they truly are. This drew crowds of people to watch someone buy a plate. And now, each of them has a cool story to tell their friends.

The lesson: People will only talk about your stuff if you have a remarkable product to begin with. Corelle started there — then they found a fantastic way to show it off.

Learn more: The Inspiration Room

4. Check it out: Face to GIF

This site uses facial recognition to record an infinitely looping GIF of your face. Want to try it? Just click the “put your face here” button and allow the site access to your webcam.

Check it out: Face to GIF

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