Vending machine at Wright spreads happiness

As part of it’s “Happiness Machine” project, Coca-Cola made a visit to Wright food court on Wednesday.

Currently touring large colleges and universities across the central part of the country, the Happiness Machine encourages consumers to “open a Coke and share a little happiness,” according to a recent Coca-Cola news release.

Created in 2009, it is a part Coca-Cola’s larger global integrated marketing campaign titled “Open Happiness.”

“It is designed to bring a bit of happiness to everyone’s day,” said Coca Cola Campus Ambassador Claire Sullivan.

Workers installed the machine early Wednesday morning before the breakfast-time rush and then left it to the masses.

From the outside, the Happiness Machine looks like any other vending machine; however, this is no ordinary beverage experience. Patrons, after paying their dollar, do not receive their selected drink, but rather are given a prize via a gloved hand that reaches out from the drink receptacle below.

Among the items given out were bagels, donuts, cookies, candy, Colts-ware, IU gear, bouquets of flowers, Twister board games and Coca-Cola products.

Junior Emiel Kendrick was among the first to try out the Happiness Machine.

“It’s definitely the coolest machine I’ve ever seen on campus,” Kendrick said. “I didn’t really know what to do with the 2 liter of Coke.”

Kendrick and his friends grabbed some cups and sat down to drink their sod, and watch the smiling unfold.  

“Everyone here who participated, or even watching, is happy,” he said. “I’m happy. He’s happy. We’re all happy.“

The machine was met with many laughs, grins and stares from food court visitors. Though not all tried the machine, many in the food court were entertained by the novelty. At other schools, the machine has received thank-you notes and even hugs, Sullivan said.

“It’s really funny,” junior Tara Shiflet said. “It’s a good idea. You get to watch everyone have a good time and laugh. I could sit here all day and watch. It makes me feel good.”

Though the machine does advertise Coca-Cola products, its message extends beyond sales or marketing, Coca-Cola representative Kim Croom said.

“It centers around and connects us with the college atmosphere and engaging our audience,” Croom said. “It’s associated with making a memory and creating smiles and not just sales. It’s meant to evoke happy memories.”

Now in its second week, the touring event, which began in Minnesota, has visited local schools such as Purdue University and IU-Purdue University Indianapolis and will wrap up its journey right before the Thanksgiving holidays.

 All the money collected from the machine will go to an undecided charity.

Where it’s headed next is anyone’s guess.

“Our slogan is ‘where will happiness strike next?'" Sullivan said. “It’s supposed to be a surprise, something completely random that creates spontaneous happiness.


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