Yawn activated coffee machine from Douwe Egberts


This is a nice example of a brand providing a service at a time of need in order to connect with consumers. 

Douwe Egberts presented bleary-eyed travellers at an airport with a coffee vending machine.

Although there was no button to press, coffees were dispensed when the machine detected the customer yawning. It certainly brought a smile to weary travellers and the video has since picked up some momentum online.

It’s a great idea, but we only question the use of a vending machine.  We have seen dozens of activations recently that have used a vending machine to dispense something unexpected in a novel way.  While this really is a fun mechanic and is bound to get people talking, it just feels like it misses out on the human touch.  Imagine if Douwe Egberts had positioned a crack team of yawn spotters in the airport, on hand to scurry over to post-yawn travellers with a freshly poured cup of coffee.  Having a 1:1 experience, seeing a friendly face and being able to engage with someone who is knowledgeable about the brand would have left a fantastic impression.douwe

We are not slamming the creative idea; we understand the hoops that agencies have to jump through to be able to secure activity in public places, with airports being particularly tricky to infiltrate.  So if a vending machine was the only option, then fitting it with yawn-recognition technology is a great way to create an memorable experience around a fairly menial task.  But we just think the impact could have been heightened with the use of informed brand ambassadors on hand to distribute coffee with a smile at a time of need. douwe_2

Other vending machine campaigns that have caught our eye:

Coca-Cola 007 challenge 

Samsung’s giveaway stare


Author bio


With nearly 30 years of marketing experience, both client and agency side, I’ve acquired a rare perspective on brands and business: I believe you have to challenge things creatively if you want to grow sales. Consumer technology is reshaping our world, and it’s only the great brands that stay on the crest.