Vending Machines Bridge The Gap

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Can a machine promote a new understanding between two nations that have been estranged for decades? Apparently yes, if you go by the large number of people who were positively impacted by the story of the Small World Machines.

Small World Machines is a creation designed to bring people together through a virtual medium and make them believe that what unites them is far stronger than what creates distances between them.

In March this year, The Coca-Cola Company opened communications for the people of Pakistan and India by providing them a live communication portal for sharing moments of unity in real time.

The company recently released a three-minute video of the initiative of promoting optimism and sharing happiness, filmed by Leo Burnett. It revealed a pair of machines that were installed by Coca-Cola with the assistance of the agency in two famous malls in Lahore and Delhi. Creative, inspiring and original, the video is indeed powerful. The film starts with some shots of localities of both countries, with sound bytes of local people talking about the current situation in India-Pakistan relations. “They are near us but we have no access to them. And it’s sad, because together, I think we could do wonders,” someone says.

As the core thought was to spread the message of peace and joy and promote cultural understanding between the two nations, ‘Small World Machines’, created through one-of-its-kind 3D touch-screen technology, were set up as ‘windows’ for people in both countries to enter each others’ world. This was done by allowing everyday visitors to malls in both countries to see each other and interact by breaking all barriers with a single touch, putting their differences aside, bridging the gap between them and making an effort to share a moment of happiness.

The crew working for Coca-Cola recorded more than 100 interactions of people of all age groups. A live exchange of emotions was witnessed and also filmed through the eye of the camera fixed in the machines, while people on both sides were persuaded to perform the friendly task in real time in coordination with their counterparts, by waving hello, touching hands, dancing together and drawing symbols of peace, happiness and love. After each interaction, machines at both ends dispensed a free can of Coke as a reward for the user. The expressions of people witnessed through the film, after successfully making new friends across the border and winning a reward for building a relationship, were priceless.SWM 4

A total number of 10,000 Coca-Cola cans were dispensed for the activation, linking the initiative to the basic philosophy of The Coca-Cola Company of connecting the brand with happiness and positivity. But what was more valuable was the cheers, laughter and excitement of people and that feel-good factor which can, in fact, bring about a change in an individual’s thought process.

“The whole idea of actually touching hands is like communicating with each other without words – and action speaks louder than words,” says another person in the background as the video ends, leaving a positive impact on the viewer.

The Small World Machines video received great response after it was aired. There were positive reviews on various blogs and news websites, appreciating this initiative of the brand of attempting to bring the people of two neighboring countries closer. Coca-Cola has been doing experiments for some time with its vending machines. The machines gave free Coke cans if they were hugged or if people danced in front of the machines. With more technological support, the company has successfully achieved the goal of coming up with out-of- the-box ideas. The machines were taken back to Atlanta after the activation and may be deployed to create interaction between other countries in conflict.

Small World Machines provide a strong message to the world that it is possible to make friends across the border.

You can watch the video of Coca-Cola Small World Machines here,


This article was first published in Slogan Magazine issue of July 2013.


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