Short List
Product / ServiceCOCA-COLA
CategoryA03. Best Use of Live Events and/or Celebrity Endorsement


Name Company Position
Steve Back Ogilvy & Mather Singapore Chief Creative Officer
James Procter Ogilvy & Mather Singapore Executive Creative Director
David Stevanov Ogilvy & Mather Singapore Art Director
Jon Loke Ogilvy & Mather Singapore Art Director
Kevin Joseph Ogilvy & Mather Singapore Copywriter
Troy Lim Ogilvy & Mather Singapore Copywriter
Eunice Ng Ogilvy & Mather Singapore Designer
Sean Soo Ogilvy & Mather Singapore Designer
James Brook-Partridge Ogilvy & Mather Singapore Producer
Alvin Chin Ogilvy & Mather Singapore Producer
Mark Sinnock Ogilvy & Mather Singapore President Of Strategy/Planning
Louise Kuegler Ogilvy & Mather Singapore Regional Business Director
Jiamei Tay Ogilvy & Mather Singapore Senior Account Manager
Marion McDonald/Samantha Burgess-Allen/Chelsea Chen/Angel Chen Ogilvy & Mather Asia Pacific Public Relations
Angus Gordon The Well Director
Adrian Chua Makers Pte Ltd Production Director
Leonardo O'Grady The Coca-Cola Company Asean IMC Director
Shakir Moin/Andrew Jeffrey/Rommel Fuentabella/June Kong Dhanabalan/Stella Yap/James Chin The Coca-Cola Company Clients

The Campaign

It's a regular sunny, tropical Singapore morning at the National University of Singapore (NUS) campus as students begin arriving for class. The Coca-Cola vending machine looks a little different. In place of the world-famous logo are the words 'Hug Me'. After some timid investigations, one young Singaporean girl flings both arms around it and bursts into laughter as she hears the familiar sound of an ice-cold Coca-Cola dispensed for free. Within 2 days hundreds of students have hugged the machine for free Cokes to share with friends. The phone cameras kick into action as students upload this stunt to social media to share with friends, which is further spread by agency media outreach. Sure, the cynics may say, a stunt giving away free Coca-Cola to students is too easy. But it had to prove an impact on brand perception and ultimately purchase intent to get the green light. Within three weeks this single 'Coke Hug Machine' achieved 116million+ global media impressions driving a huge 23% uplift in purchase intent that translates to US$2million in incremental annualised sales in Singapore alone. It also built the emotional link between Coca-Cola and happiness. An outstanding $20,000 gamble!

The Brief

As a low-budget experiment, we aimed for ANY POSSIBLE PURCHASE INTENT INCREASE for incremental sales among Coca-Cola users in Singapore. Success here would create the business case for an Asian rollout. Our communications objective was emotional engagement through reminding consumers that sharing a Coke equals sharing a moment of happiness. We set a modest target of 10million media impressions with our US$20,000 budget. This was a LONG SHOT! Stunt impact is highly unpredictable. Like a pinball machine, many levers and barriers keep it in/knock it out of play and we don't control the game.


This pinball game hit the jackpot! A huge 23% uplift in purchase intent translates into 4.2million more cans and US$2million incremental annualised sales just in Singapore (Source:TNS Research April2012,agency calculations). 'The Coke Hug Machine' achieved an impressive level of brand fame within 2 weeks, reaching 82% of Singaporean university age students. Research compared those exposed to 'The Coke Hug Machine' versus a non-exposed control group: Purchase intent: Saw 'Hug Me' 40% - Control group 17% - Uplift +23% Coke brings happiness: Saw 'Hug Me' 45% - Control group - 30% - Uplift +15% Coke encourages friendship: Saw 'Hug Me' 46% - Control group 11% - Uplift +35% Media coverage over 2 weeks generated 116million+ impressions, including 1.5million+ video views of the stunt (source: agency media monitoring). Coverage spread worldwide: • Network TV:ABC Good Morning America /CBS/CNN/NBC etc • Online news:The Huffington Post/Forbes/ TIME/mashable/ MSN/Yahoo News/Sina/ Herald Sun/China Daily etc • Social media networks:Twitter/facebook/YouTube/YouKu/Sina Weibo etc A very healthy return on a US$20,000 investment and 1,000 free cans of Coke.


The 'Coke Hug Machine' was unveiled on March 29-30, 2012, at the National University of Singapore. 'Reactions were amazing, people really had fun with it and there was a long line of people looking to give hugs. It was really heartwarming,' said Leonardo O'Grady, ASEAN IMC Director for Coca-Cola. During the excitement of the stunt, hundreds of enthusiastic students captured it on mobile phone cameras and uploaded content to their social networks. The agency captured further content to extend the live social media coverage by NUS students with media outreach in Singapore and internationally. Outreach covered network TV, newspapers, blogs and Twitter focused on Coke's largest markets like China, India, the Middle East, United States, Australia, and Brazil. A tracking study was established to monitor the impact among those exposed to 'The Coke Hug Machine' versus a control group to measure its success.

The Situation

'Open Happiness', a global Coca-Cola initiative, invites people around the world to bring positivity, optimism and fun into their lives by opening a Coke to share a little happiness. And happiness was needed on Coke in Asia. Despite high awareness, our target drank Coke as a treat just once every 17 days (confidential:client research) and brand tracking showed 'Coke is a brand for me' scores declining 11% over 2 years (confidential:client research). We needed to engage Singaporean youth 'in their world/on their terms' through something unexpected and surprising to win attention, yet feel authentic enough they'd want to share it.

The Strategy

Happiness is contagious. The 'Coke Hug Machine' was conceived as an 'Open Happiness' stunt innovation. We took a regular Coca-Cola vending machine and modified it to release a can of Coke whenever pressure sensors on the sides were pressed. Sure, giving away free cans for 2 days is easy. But it had to pay back in incremental sales over the next 12 months. We wanted the real experience at the vending machine to 'love you back' when you hug it, AND the virtual experience in the form of contagious content to be become a 'currency of teen friendship' that would make an impact well beyond the single machine installed in Singapore. Whether you were hugging the machine or experiencing the event online, our goal was the same - to put a smile on your face and build the link between Coca-Cola and happiness to drive increased purchase intent.