Dynamic Marketing Communiqué

A Dance Dance Revo vending machine?! Here’s how one campaign refreshed weary South Koreans in 2012! [Thursdays: Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing]

July 14, 2022

Miles Everson’s Business Builder Daily speaks to the heart of what great marketers, business leaders, and other professionals need to succeed in advertising, communications, managing their investments, career strategy, and more.

A Note from Miles Everson:

Hi, everyone. It’s “Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing” Thursday today!

We hope you’re having an awesome day so far.

In case you’re not aware, Guerrilla Marketing is an unconventional marketing tactic. According to Jay Conrad Levinson, this strategy works because it’s engaging, easy to execute, and sometimes, inexpensive. These campaigns make a huge impact and easily stick to consumers’ minds.

Let’s talk about a fun and exciting guerrilla marketing campaign for today’s article.

Read on to know how this multinational beverage brand spread happiness and cheer to South Koreans in September 2012.

Miles Everson
CEO, MBO Partners
Chairman of the Advisory Board, The I Institute

Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing

The Coca-Cola Company is a multinational beverage corporation headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia.

The company manufactures the popular Coke, which was invented in 1886 by pharmacist John Stith Pemberton, and other products such as:

  • Sprite
  • Fanta
  • Schweppes
  • Appletiser
  • Fresca
  • Barq’s

Today, the company is the world’s largest beverage manufacturer, with 2,800 different products available in over 200 countries.

Photo from USA Today

Did you know that Coca-Cola is more than just a company that manufactures refreshing beverages?

Aside from the sugary, fizzy, and cool taste of its offerings, the brand’s products are known to communicate a story and spark positive emotions out of consumers…

The “Happiness” Initiative

Various advertising strategies have come a long way since they were first introduced in the mid-19th century. From newspaper ads to outdoor ads, many companies use these techniques to attract customers and engage with them.

… and for an industry giant like Coca-Cola, these marketing strategies are also a way to deliver a message and stick to consumers’ minds.

Here are some of the brand’s marketing campaigns that we featured in our past “Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing” articles. In case you’re not aware, Coca-Cola is one of those brands known for conducting fun, interactive, and impactful guerrilla marketing stunts:

Today, we’ll talk about another one of the company’s awesome marketing strategies. It’s…

The “Dance Vending Machine” campaign!

The campaign was based on a 2012 study that in South Korea, consumers aged 16 to 24 are weighed down by pressure to excel in school and immediately get a job after graduating.

About 23% of this demographic reported experiencing stress too often, and that they’re tired of the demanding school work and the challenge of job searching.

Using this insight, Coca-Cola decided to create a campaign that would give these consumers a breath of fresh air.

Enter the “happiness” initiative…

One of the things South Korea is known for is its lively, vibrant, and colorful K-pop industry that consists of various sing-and-dance groups like Girls’ GenerationSuper Junior2NE1BigBangSHINeeBTSBLACKPINKGOT7TWICE, and more.

So, to provide the energetic experience associated with the refreshment brought by a Coca-Cola drink, the company partnered with South Korea-based marketing agency Doveto Rabbit and linked the campaign to dance.

—hence, the “Dance Vending Machine.”

The Dance Dance Revolution-meets-XBox’s Kinect Technology Coke dispenser not only gave out free bottles of the popular beverage but also invited consumers to participate in a dance game that would shake off their nervous energy.

The machine was equipped with large screens and motion sensors, and was placed at the center of a mega cineplex in Seoul, South Korea. All participants had to do was stand in front of the machine and wait for the dance game to start so they could imitate the steps on the screen and show off their best moves.

… and guess what? The dancers shown on the coke dispenser’s screen were no ordinary dancers.

They’re 2PM—the K-pop boy group that includes Jun K., Nickhun, Taecyeon, Wooyoung, Junho, and Chansung! They were Coca-Cola’s endorsers in South Korea from 2010 to 2012.

Photo from Kpopmap

With a little help of influencer marketing, the “Dance Vending Machine” effectively attracted passersby, especially 2PM fans, and compelled them to mimic the boy group’s dance moves.

The better the participants’ dances were, the more bottles of Coke they received.

The “Dance Vending Machine” lasted for the whole month of September 2012. The campaign team also created a 2-minute video of the brand activation and uploaded it on YouTube.

Was Coca-Cola’s “Dance Vending Machine” campaign effective?

Many passersby enjoyed interacting with Coca-Cola’s “Dance Vending Machine.” No matter what they were doing or where they were going, they took time to pause, shake their worries and pressures away, and show as much passion as possible for free Cokes.

These were the results of the guerrilla marketing campaign:

  • The campaign video went viral on YouTube and garnered over 2 million views and 7,000+ shares in one month.
  • Several South Korean media outlets recognized the “Dance Vending Machine” as one of the most successful campaigns in the country in 2012.
  • Coca-Cola’s engagement rates in South Korea increased by 39% during the campaign.
  • Coke’s sales in South Korea increased by 9% in September 2012 compared to September 2011.
  • Over 2 million bottles of Coke were distributed through the “Dance Vending Machine” during the campaign.
  • The campaign won a Gold Award at the PRO Awards in 2013.

These results show that Coca-Cola’s guerrilla marketing campaign truly helped many South Koreans refresh themselves (both literally and figuratively), let go of the pressures they were experiencing, and just enjoy the moment with their friends.

Kudos, Coca-Cola and Doveto Rabbit! You deserve a round of applause for this awesome guerrilla marketing strategy!

Coca-Cola is one of the companies known for creating some of the greatest and unconventional marketing tactics in the world. From vending machines to trucks, the brand simply knows how to create happiness and share it with consumers.

… and one of the things that make the company’s campaigns viral and successful?

They always have a unique way to reach customers and prospects from all over the world!

Think about this: Most of Coca-Cola’s campaigns are centered around the idea of spreading happiness.

However, instead of using the same happiness machine or implementing the same guerrilla marketing idea in a different country, the company does several tweaks—depending on a country’s culture—while sticking to the main theme to keep consumers engaged.

As a result, Coca-cola never fails to generate buzz in its brand activations.

The lesson?

Always make sure to offer something new or unique to your target market whenever you conduct a marketing campaign or strategy.

Take for example the “Dance Vending Machine”…

Sure, many consumers love free product giveaways, but more than giving away these marketing collaterals, it’s important that you make the process fun, engaging, and memorable. This will increase the likelihood that your brand will stick to consumers’ minds.

We hope you enjoyed reading today’s guerrilla marketing feature!

Remember: A fun and compelling brand activation that’s suited to a particular demographic, culture, or country is a great way to establish positive connections with your target market.

Keep your marketing campaigns fresh… and refreshing!

(This article is from The Business Builder Daily, a newsletter by The I Institute in collaboration with MBO Partners.)

About The Dynamic Marketing Communiqué’s
“Thursdays: Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing”

Jay Conrad Levinson (1984) said that Guerrilla Marketing “works because it’s simple to appreciate, easy to execute, and inexpensive.”

Guerrilla Marketing is unconventional.

Looking beyond the traditional ways of advertising, marketers, and advertisers need to spice things up in order for their brand to have campaigns that not only make an impact but also stick to their target market’s mind.

Guerrilla Marketing usually aims to have direct contact with consumers.

This type of direct contact should spark an emotional reaction that leads to consumers effectively remembering the brand.

It’s about making a big impression and making that impression last a long time (if not forever).

Guerrilla Marketing can be inexpensive.

The effect of this is being able to create a buzz around the brand, and the strategy used to market it. Almost everything is passed around through word-of-mouth.

Word-of-mouth is one of the greatest outcomes and it usually doesn’t cost anything.

This is every business’ or brand’s dream!

Every Thursday, we publish tips, examples, and other useful content on unconventional ways of marketing and promotion.

Learn more about how to grab your target market’s attention and make an amazing first and lasting impression without having to spend a lot of money.

Businesses don’t really need to spend much for a guerrilla campaign. You do not need a big budget to be successful. You just need creativity and a good imagination.

Hope you’ve found this week’s guerrilla marketing insight interesting and helpful.

Stay tuned for next Thursday’s Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing!


Kyle Yu
Head of Marketing
Valens Dynamic Marketing Capabilities
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