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Huggable vending machine sparks new forms of intimacy on campus

Colahugs-5

If you haven’t heard Coca-Cola’s “Share the Love” or “Share a Coke” marketing campaign then you may be living under a rock.

Last Monday, January 18, Coca-Cola and Chartwells, Trent’s new food service provider, teamed up to bring a huggable vending machine, one of three in Canada and the only one in Ontario, to Trent for a day.

Colahugs-2As its name suggests this novelty vending machine is unique because instead of requiring money to dispense a can of cola, all it asks for is a hug.

Gavin McKnight is the district sales manager of Coca-Cola Refreshments and also Trent’s men’s hockey team coach. He said that this initiative is a way for the company to show students that it is trying to be a positive part of the university community. “It’s a great feel-good thing for students to let loose in their inhibitions and enjoy the fact that they can get something for free just by doing something nice.”

Many students were initially hesitant to hug a vending machine but quickly warmed up to the idea. Throughout the day the machine got hugged again and again, each time doling out a free can to each hugger.

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