Unilever rewards smiles with ice creams in experiential push

Smiling consumers will be rewarded with ice cream thanks to a new Unilever-owned vending machine that uses face reading technology. See it in action here.

Unilever, owner of ice cream brands including Wall’s and Ben & Jerry’s, is to use the machine in high-traffic locations such as shopping centres globally in an 18-month tour.

It lures passersby with an attractor screen. As they get closer, the machine prompts the person to give a big smile, which is then analysed by a ’smile-o-meter’ to determine how happy a person is. With permission, it takes a photo which is then uploaded to Facebook. They can then pick out an ice cream using a touchscreen interface. The machine can been seen in operation here.

It was created by SapientNitro and forms part of Unilever’s new mission for its ice cream brands, which is to encourage people to share small moments of happiness.

The machine was unveiled at the Cannes International Advertising Festival, where ice creams will be given away for free. When the machine goes on tour, however, users will have to pay for the ice creams as with ordinary vending machines.

Ian Maskell, global brand development director for Wall’s at Unilever, says: “We’re really excited about the possibility this new technology holds for Unilever. It offers a revolutionary new way for consumers to buy ice cream and, simultaneously, a revolutionary brand experience.”

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