Service with a smile

Many brands hope their activations will provoke a positive response from their target consumers. Unilever, however, are cutting straight to the ROI punch line by making a positive consumer response an integral part of their actual campaign.

A new vending machine – unveiled in Cannes – is gifting users with a free ice cream. All it wants in return is a smile.

The tactile ice cream dispenser utilises facial recognition technology and Augmented Reality to prompt passers by to smile for a photo. The photo is ranked on a ‘smile-o-meter' and can then be shared on Facebook via a touch screen interface.  Ian Maskell, global brand development director for Wall’s at Unilever, says “it offers a revolutionary new way for consumers to buy ice cream and, simultaneously, a revolutionary brand experience”.

The new machines are about to embark on a US tour of shopping malls for the next 18 months, during which time the freebies stop as Unilever hopes to engage paying customers with its happiness sharing application.

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