The video, created by Atlanta-based interactive agency Definition 6, ties in with Coke's ongoing "Open Happiness" global marketing campaign.
Coke set up a special vending machine on a real college campus and rolled footage of students' surprised and delighted reactions as the machine proceeded to dispense everything from free bottles of Coke to flowers, a whole pizza, a six-foot sub and balloon animals.
Coke couldn't have scripted better responses: Students laugh and jump, pass the Cokes and gifts around, and even thank Coke as they hug the vending machine. But the footage is "all real students and real reactions," according to Christy Amador, digital marketing manager, Coca-Cola global interactive marketing.
The video, shot on the Queens, N.Y., campus of St. John's University, concludes with a title asking: "Where will happiness strike next?" and a message encouraging viewers to "Share the happiness, share the video."
A.J. Brustein, global senior brand manager, Coca-Cola, says the video was conceived as a way to connect with teens and young adults outside of TV ads and online games. "We wanted to give them something that would spread a bit of happiness and something they could pass on to their friends to keep the happiness flowing," he sums up.
While some local Coca-Cola markets have produced videos intended for viral distribution (a Christmas video done in Mexico, for instance), the Happiness Machine is the brand's first worldwide viral effort, Brustein confirms.
The video was posted on YouTube late on Jan. 12. To get the viral ball rolling, Coke "did a global tweet" and a status update on its Facebook page, reports Amador.
Brustein and Amador say that it's not yet clear whether similar "Happiness Machine" videos will be filmed in other locations or global markets, but added that the "hope" is that this first viral effort will be deemed successful enough to lead to many more.