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Coca-Cola repurposes the vending machine with sweet 'Thanks Box' drive

A winter campaign from J. Walter Thompson Brazil saw “reverse vending machines” receive Coca-Cola bottles from consumers, a unique subversion of what the machines ought to do.

The logic behind the madness was to encourage gifting. Once consumers purchased one of three commemorative Coca-Cola bottles, they were tasked with depositing them in the machine - from there, they could record and send a special thank you (and the bottle) to that deserving someone.

Installed in malls and supermarkets throughout Brazil’s largest cities, Porto Alegre, Curitiba, Salvador and São Paulo, the experiential ‘THX BOX’ encouraged shoppers to share goodwill, all the while allowing them to share their messages from the machines straight onto social media platforms.

Nacho Mendiola, creative director at J. Walter Thompson Brazil, told The Drum that across four sites, around 5,400 were generated by those using the booths. Additionally, he stressed that there was a buzz kicked up in the stores impacted points of purchase too.

In a bid to cut through the Christmas rush, the objective was to have consumers reflect on those closest to them, and those deserving of a thank you.

Mendiola and co-creative director Gustavo de Lacerda, said: "We sought to innovate by creating a design project. We built a machine with long useful life that can be used in other opportunities in addition to the Christmas campaign.”

The pair noted that machine was even used to send a wedding proposal, highlighting how such schemes can spark narratives if correctly planned.

They concluded: “We believe that when we get personal, the engagement increases and the message stays with you in a deeper way, building a stronger relationship with the brand.”

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