(Written as part of The Daily Post: Daily Prompt – Vending Wishes: Soft drinks, electronics, nutrient-free snacks — you can get all of those from a vending machine. But what type of vending machine is sorely needed but doesn’t yet exist? Share your automated retail fantasies with us!)
As predictable or cliché as it may be, it would be lovely if a vending machine existed which could somehow read a person’s emotional state, and print them a ticket to happiness – Be it in the form of a vending fortune machine which gives out inspirational quotes, or maybe just a picture of something that could turn their day around.
After completing a short survey of your current mental and emotional state, the machine would be designed to make sure you left with a smile on your face.
However, rather than focusing on if’s, I’d like to mention one that does exist but not many people know of (sorry, I’ll digress a little from the original prompt!)
A short while ago, I saw an advertisement for a “Hello Happiness” phone booth by Coco-Cola. The description was:
It’s a well known fact that labourers in Dubai and UAE have to live through harsh conditions to make ends meet and save money for their families. Labourers have to stay in Dubai for years without any trips back home since airfare is usually not provided by the company as part of the perks. In these circumstances, making a phone call home is the only alternative. However, phone calls are also very expensive. It costs around 90 cents for international calls and it is a huge expense for labourers who make 6 dollars a day on average.
Coca Cola recently came up with another innovative and viral marketing solution by introducing Hello Happiness booths in these labour camps.
(Video at the end of the post)
These booths work by using Coco-Cola bottle caps as currency – and I believe that one bottle cap is the equivalent of 3 minutes worth of talk time.
Whether this was purely a marketing ploy to boost their sales (as stated by many people in the comments), I still really liked the idea of it.
If you read about the horrific conditions that people have to stay in, in those labour camps, and how they were basically conned and lied to with the dream of a great life in Dubai but found themselves in a labour intensive hell – any method of bringing a smile to their faces is still sweet, in my opinion.
Yes, Coco-Cola benefit from the sales (and the drink isn’t exactly healthy!), but seeing as how any vending machine is used for ‘profit-building’, at least this one allows these men, living thousands of miles from home in awful conditions, to hear the voices of their loved ones again.
It would probably be better if they could use any recyclable material as currency, so it doesn’t restrict the user to just one kind of bottle cap!
I believe that if you can do something to make another person smile, then you have not had a wasted day =)
(P.S. I am not an advertiser for Coco-cola!! I don’t even drink the stuff!!)