The Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival is on its way. And together with that, a lot of new campaigns are hitting the internet. Like this one by Unilever: "Share Happy".
Basically it is an ice-cream vending machine equipped with a camera, touchscreen and an internet connection. The point of all this technology is to engage people with the vending machine, with the Heartbrand. The machine can detect if passers-by are smiling or not.
And if they really are happy, they might get a free ice cream. For the less fortunate there is the opportunity to take a funny picture that can be shared on Facebook or other networks.
The technology is expensive so it is impossible to built into a a lot of machines. Instead there is one machine touring (the US?) for the next 18 months.
No doubt it will be good fun for people encountering the machine. But its real impact might be limited.
The best example of vending machine interaction is probably Coke's "The Happiness machine". The viral video that was produced from this one time event went around the world.
And how about this Lego in-store machine. It allows for real customer engagment with the product. Creating anticipation before you have even opened the package!