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Unilever’s Smile-Activated Ice Cream Machine

The branded vending machine experience "shares happy" during its intro at Cannes.

Paloma M. Vazquez
Paloma M. Vazquez on June 22, 2010. @pmvazquez

Unilever revealed an ice cream vending machine to the global advertising community yesterday at Cannes. Branded “Share Happy”, it’s already been billed as the world’s first smile-activated vending machine, and as “an ice cream truck for the digital age”. Ultimately, the vending machine offers a unique brand experience as part of Unilever’s new ice cream mission to encourage people everywhere to share life’s small moments of happiness.

How it works: an “attractor screen” uses augmented reality to compel passer-by’s towards the machine. The person is then prompted to smile, with the ‘smile-o-meter’ measuring his or her grin; facial recognition technology will gauge the individual’s age, gender and emotion. Those with big enough grins are awarded free ice cream, which they can select from the touch-screen interface on the machine. A photo is taken and uploaded onto Facebook – with the person’s permission.

While Unilever – and agency SapientNitro – first unveiled the machine to consumers at Portugal’s Rock in Rio in May, the decision to unveil it to advertising and marketing industry professionals at Cannes will presumably also offer the opportunity to showcase the impact that creative technologists can have on creating a unique (digital) brand experience. SapientNitro’s creative technologists used the latest technology across multiple platforms, including facial recognition, 3G and Facebook – in order to deliver a unique, innovative and shareable brand experience to consumers. Ultimately, the machine is an extension of the brand premise that ice cream is one way to facilitate “sharing happiness”.

“Share Happy” vending machines will roll out into high-traffic global consumer locations, including shopping malls, over the next 18 months.

Watch a demo below:



(Astute PSFK readers may also recall “Dr. Whippy”, a similar machine that doles out increasing amounts of ice cream based on users’ stress levels.)

Unilever

[via MarketWatch and MobileBehavior]

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