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Creative Creative Works OOH

Sprite vending machine detects moments of ‘heat’ in a train station

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By Amy Houston, Senior Reporter

July 13, 2023 | 4 min read

Rage-inducing moments that will deliver a drink range from travel delays and loud music to slow walkers.

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Sprite's vending machine / WPP

Sprite has installed a vending machine inside London’s Kings Cross Station, but with a twist. Instead of the typical method of getting a cold drink, the fridge uses live data to identify and track the things Gen-Z finds most annoying. It will then dispense a drink.

“Anything from train delays and cancelations, screaming kids, or even people playing music without headphones can trigger the machine to recognize that people need some help to stay cool,” says Kiran Ranmal, European creative marketing manager at The Coca-Cola Company.

“The vending machine has an interactive, digital screen which displays the level of ‘heat’ at any given time. When the heat rises, consumers will be able to enjoy an ice-cold Sprite on us.”

The experiential out-of-home (OOH) activation has been deliberately placed in one of the UK’s most stressful environments - King's Cross Station. Through research by the brand, it's been revealed that the nation gets annoyed an average of 12 times a day, but Gen-Zs find themselves frustrated the most at 18 times per day. The machine itself was created as a way to react to a wide spectrum of heated situations, with a humorous take on ‘smart’ tech.

“The activation has been designed to tap into Sprite’s global brand platform, ‘Heat Happens, Stay Cool’, as our latest tactical activation to leverage Sprite’s irresistible taste and help everyone keep cool on their commute,” continued Ranmal.

“We recognize that heated moments are part of the fabric of our daily lives. Heat is everywhere, it’s inevitable. It can be easy to lose your cool. So, with our new Sprite vending machine, we can offer consumers one simple solution, to refresh and keep cool with an ice-cold Sprite on the go.

The stunt was created in partnership with WPP OpenX and is being piloted in the UK. In addition to PR, influence and social content, the campaign will also be supported by a series of influencer partnerships to drive brand affinity among Gen-Z.

Johnny Watters, executive creative director at WPP OpenX, added: “Heat Happens. Stay Cool. It’s one of those rare brand platforms designed to live in the right here, right now. No one’s saying a Sprite will stop the train delays or sweaty armpits. It won’t suddenly vanquish the phone zombies or silence the screaming kids. But it might just keep you from losing your own cool whenever heat rears its ugly head.

“And this vending machine makes it easier than ever to get a crisp, cooling Sprite down your neck. Because as the heat of life goes up, a Sprite comes down. It’s a heady mix of live data, smart tech and good old-fashioned creativity. All topped off with a sprinkling of anarchic GenZ humour.”

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