Coca-Cola installs “Happiness Machines” in Dubai’s labour camps


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Coca-Cola’s shared its fizzy and fuzzy joy to migrant labourers in Dubai, six thousand kilometres from the #CokeDrones campaign that descended into Singapore’s skyscrapers.

The branded goodwill campaign targets at Dubai’s migrant labour force. Coke installed “Happiness Machines” in six labour camps of South Asian origins. Migrant workers comprise up to 85% of the rapidly developing United Emirates of Arab (UEA).

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Workers exchanged Coke bottle caps for 3-minute international calls, a luxury most of these men cannot afford with their USD6/day pay. Over 40,000 people used the phone booths in a month.

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The Dubai campaign is part of Coca-Cola’s international “Where will happiness strike next?” series (also seen in Dhaka, Bangladesh (fun arcade-style recycling machines)).

While generating a lot of goodwill on the Internet, this “Happiness Machines” in Dubai and #CokeDrones in Singapore has been called a rodeo PR stunt (“So, seriously Coke. Who do you think you are? What are you? The UN? Amnesty International?“), and as an advertising campaign that blithely ignores the real labour issues in developing countries (“Sometimes a soda, refreshing as it may be, is just a soda.”).

Even if the campaign’s goal was just to generate collective feelgood fuzzies, #CokeDrones & the “Happiness Machines” brings forward very personal stories related from a population that is often unseen and unheard.

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