Vending Machine Idea

Literacy Vending Machine

Treat-filled vending machines can be a source of controversy – especially when placed in schools – but there’s no way anyone could argue against the socially nutritious stunt campaign currently being executed by Quebec’s Fondation pour l’alphabetisation (Literacy Foundation) in Montreal.

Created and carried out by Montreal-based agency Bleublancrouge, the novel stunt places vending machines in various locations in Montreal. But instead of dropping chips and pop into people’s hands when they deposit their $4.95, the machine distributes packets of words, courtesy of the non-profit.

‘The idea is to buy words for people who can’t read them,’ Justin Kingsley, VP special operations, Bleublancrouge, tells MiC. ‘When you buy a word to support literacy efforts, the money that you contribute goes towards the foundation to fund programs.’

The Mots Depot vending machine is one element of a much larger literacy campaign Fondation pour l’alphabetisation has underway right now, which includes a website, TV and radio spots, t-shirts, subversive newspaper classified ads and a Facebook app.

‘It’s a real 2.0 campaign: a combination of web, word of mouth and every means of communication at your disposal to get the message out that you can help people use words when you buy words,’ Kingsley says.

The campaign is just in its initial phases and will roll out in English Canada in 2010 as soon as Bleublancrouge finds a suitable non-profit with which to partner, Kingsley says.

Vending Machine Idea

Dirty Water Vending Machine

UNICEF’s ongoing Tap Project continues to use ideas to communicate its simple but important on-going mission. Its next idea is using a dirty water vending machine.

During World Water Week (March 22-29, 2010), visitors in the Union Square Park area were able to sample the taste and benefits of Dirty Water. Available in a wide variety of choices like malaria, cholera or even typhoid, Dirty Water was not a new edgy designer brand but a way of bringing the realities of the world water crisis to every day New Yorkers.

A specially customised vending machine dispensed murky discoloured water in various appealing “flavours”, as campaign staff tried to persuade onlookers to part with their cash in return for “contaminated” water.

Unsurprisingly, while the many people chose to pass on the contaminated water, they did choose to donate money to the Tap Project fund, either by putting money directly into the vending machine, or by text donations.

This eye-opening Dirty Water initiative from Casanova Pendrill New York, went beyond the usual collection strategies for Unicef with this unique street activation, that shocked the local public who encountered the event.

This effort was part of a much bigger pro-bono Spanish/English campaign that Casanova Pendrill executed within Unicef´s This is first time the campaign expanded specifically to a local multicultural audience. The activation secured $500,000 in donated media including TV spots, radio, OOH, web banners and events.

Vending Machine Idea

Vote Vending Machine

The exhibit starts with this introduction:

As a conservation charity with limited funds, Chester Zoo has to support projects that will give the greatest impact. This often means making difficult decisions between spending our money in the UK or abroad.

Following that are descriptions of the following five projects:

  • The upkeep of Chester Zoo’s Realm of the Red Ape exhibit, which supports the orang-utan breeding programme in Europe.
  • Government lobbying to stop unlicensed logging.
  • Develop eco-tourism to promote alternative livelihoods for communities living alongside the orang-utans.
  • National park wardens to protect the forest and prevent poaching.
  • Education programmes in Sumutra and Borneo to change behaviours and attitudes towards wildlife and conservation.

Visitors are then asked ‘which would you support?’ and are given the opportunity to vote. Crucially, though, you only get the right to vote by purchasing a £1 badge from the machine. This is quite a cunning way of preventing random repeat voting by impatient kids. I did wonder though whether you even needed to give people a badge for their £1. Even though the badges clearly cost far less than a quid to produce, giving people a badge turns the ‘donation’ experience into a purchasing experience, which perhaps sidelines the ‘decision’ element of the exhibit.

Interestingly, it’s never suggested at all that the votes will have any actual influence on where Chester Zoo will spend their money. You are only told that your donation will go towards general orang-utan conservation (which all the projects mentioned fall into). Given the results of the vote, this is perhaps a sensible decision. It’d be interesting to look at ways of giving visitors a real influence in these difficult funding decisions though.

Vending Machine Idea

Charity Vending Machine for Education

A new CIESF Charity vending machine that supports educations in Cambodia was installed at COOP Life Center on Nishi-Chiba Campus on April 18, 2011.

2% of its sales will be donated to the CIESF, Cambodia International Education Support Foundation.

Chiba University has a close relationship with Cambodia. We have concluded sister university agreements with Royal University of Phnom Penh in 2009 and been actively supporting each other in academic development.

Cambodia is still facing a number of problems including lack of educators and low quality of education. Please stop by to quench your thirst while supporting their education systems.

Vending Machine Idea

Red Cross Charity Vending Machine

Coca-Cola and the Japanese Red Cross have rolled out a vending machine that lets users donate money directly to the vending machine. The simple introduction of the “charity button” is aimed at making it easier for users to donate towards the rebuilding of areas hardest hit by the recent disasters in Japan.

Users are given the option of donating either ¥10 or ¥100, and as with a normal purchase the buttons light up when the money is inserted but instead of receiving a beverage when pressed, the machine emits a loud “Thank you very much for the donation”. The units themselves are branded with the iconic red cross and have some images of the work the Japan Red Cross are currently doing around the world and in Tohoku as part of ongoing relief efforts.

Vending Machine Idea

Workplace Safety: Body-O-Matic

Unfortunately, there’s no easy fix when it comes to work place incidents. There are no panel beaters, precision painters, restorations or cheap and readily available replacement body parts.

When you damage your body in a serious work place incident, the injury is for life. WorkSafe Victoria brought to life the terrifying consequences of work place incidents with this striking installation. A vending machine designed to sell spare body parts.

The Body-O-Matic machine was first unveiled at the National Careers and Employment Expo and it’s currently on a statewide tour of worksites and educational and training facilities, offering a free confidential safety advice 1800 phone number, email and information website.

Vending Machine Idea

Corporate Campaign Contribution Vending Machine (Cartoon)

Vending Machine Idea

Political Campaign Vending Machine


A motif is a rhetorical device that involves the repeated presence of a concept, which heightens its importance in a speech and draws attention to the idea. Obama’s motifs became so recognizable that the main motifs, change and hope, became the themes for the 2008 presidential campaign of every candidate, from Senator Hillary Clinton and Senator John McCain.


Change was Obama’s fundamental motif in his campaign for Republican, Democratic, and undecided audiences. In addition to inspiring his Yes We Can campaign slogan, the ideology of change separated Obama from his opponents. During his campaign, change was the second most stated concept in Obama’s speeches, falling behind the economy. Change also became a part of Obama’s slogan, “Change we can believe in,” which appeared on banners, podiums, and posters.


Hope supported the idea that change was possible and symbolized the hope that Obama could become the first African American president of the United States. Hope became another repeated topic and theme in the campaign, being the fourth most stated concept behind the economy, change, and security. Below is an example of hope as a motif from Obama’s 2004 Democratic National Convention keynote address:

“Hope in the face of difficulty. Hope in the face of uncertainty. The audacity of hope!”

Vending Machine Idea

Boyfriend Vending Machine

Flossie, a women’s lifestyle magazine, has designed something very special for the single women of New Zealand and it is brilliantly strange.

This creative project was developed working on the basis that it would be great if single men were as easy to find as a can of Coke. So Flossie had the idea of a big vending machine packed full of real live single men with a few vibrators for good measure, to satisfy women of all ages. They auditioned all the men to check they were not mental cases, of course–think Britain’s Got Talent, but with hotties.

It is on Auckland’s High Street and there is brilliant footage of what happened when women found it. It is also beyond explanation that number 2014 is single!

Vending Machine Idea

Free Snack Vending Machine

What would you do for Fantastic Delites? I’m sorry, the phrase they’re using is, “How far will you go for Fantastic Delites?” Same dif. The point is, would you mash a button 100 times for a free bag of Aussie rice snacks? How about 1,000? OK, 5,000?

Clemenger BBDO created a vending machine to test how far humans would devolve into lab rats for the paltry reward of a single bag of crinkle-cut snacks—asking them to bow to the vending machine, do various physical exercises, and yes, generally look like fools in the name of free snacks.

While the “What would you do?” setup is classic, advertising as social experiment in human-machine interactions is nothing new, either. What does the vending machine add to the experiment?

Simple. It removes any aggravation at having an actual person force you to work for something. There is no lack of fairness, no attempts to reason with the machine, just command and response. Of course, we know we’re being watched and partaking in an experiment of some sort, but as long as we receive the reward, whether it be a Salta “Rugbeer,” an Intel Ultrabook, or even a cheap box of crinkle-cut rice snacks, we’re happy to bow down.