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Digitally tricked-out vending machines keep popping up around the globe, surprising and delighting consumers with new gimmicks and free samples.
Local goodwill is the endgame if you take the activations at face value. But in truth, they’re plays for views on YouTube. “The vending machines have very little to do with it,” said Jonah Berger, a professor of marketing at the Wharton School and author of Contagious: Why Things Catch On. “It’s more of a publicity stunt to get shares and hope that content goes viral.”