The Daily Gamecock

Open Happiness: Promotional Coke vending machine celebrates contract renewal

Epic vending machine visits Russell House

The Grand Marketplace’s Pepsi fountains fizzed in fear Wednesday morning when a new vending machine came to campus.

Exuberant cries and jovial music echoed throughout Russell House as students walked away laughing with various prizes. No, the carnival wasn’t in town, but the Coca-Cola Company was.

The Coke Happiness Machine arrived in the Grand Market Place to celebrate a vending and athletic sponsorship contract renewal between USC and Coke. Details of the contract were not available late Wednesday night.

“It’s a seven-year contract and we are excited to continue to be involved with Carolina and Gamecock athletics,” said Coke sales representative Regina Pollock

The amusing vending machine and it’s Coke partners are on a Southeastern tour, stopping at universities along the way to promote the company’s most recent campaign of Open Happiness.

According to Coke marketing manager, Jenny Miller, Happiness Machines have traveled around the world providing people with cold Cokes and a few good laughs.

Students lined up around the corner to put their money in for a drink and a surprise. In addition to a Coke of their choice, customers could receive anything from a T-shirt to silly string presented to them by a black-gloved hand through the drink slot.

Third-year biology student Brandon Busby-Shaw jumped in line at the site of the Happiness Machine.

“It’s pretty snazzy,” Busby-Shaw said. “It’s a new twist on marketing that’s a lot more fun than getting a flier.”

According to Miller, the Machine is a crowd pleaser and students were eager to participate. Students started accumulating before set up was completed and a large crowd had gathered by the time the Happiness Machine was ready to go.

Second year pre-pharmacy student, Brienna Vaughn, received a Twister game set along with her soda. The distributing hand even had Vaughn and a friend play a round before letting her leave.

“I thought I’d just get a T-shirt or frisbee like most other people,” Vaughn said. “I didn’t expect to play Twister today. It was something fun to do.”

Coke Company employees, along with a small camera located above the Machine, recorded student reactions, some of which will be uploaded to YouTube where videos of the Happiness Machine from all over the world can be found.

“We are super excited to be here,” Miller said. “The USC students have been incredible and we have all had such an good time. Coke is extremely glad to continue working with Carolina and we are looking forward to, at least, another seven good years.”