By Zak Stone
The only ATMs that have ever made me particularly "happy" are the ones that don't charge withdrawal fees. In Spain, a mysterious campaign by Coca-Cola called "ATM of Happiness" isn't just letting people get cash sans-fee: it's making it rain, for free.
Filmed withdrawing cash with a hidden camera, cash-strapped Spaniards--dealing with soaring rates of unemployment and austerity measures--seem particularly jubilant about the corporate handout. A semi-viral video promoting the project campaign shows passersby approaching the ATM, painted in Coca-Cola red. The screen reads "Get 100 Euro for free with no card" (in Spanish)--but there's a catch. To withdraw, you have to press a button pledging to share the money. (The ATM even provides suggestions on how to share.)
The video shows what some people did with their cash: buy presents for strangers and friends, mostly. It's likely that others pocketed it. I'm skeptical of the veracity of the video--whether the people included are real people. And If you heard about a free-money dispensing ATM, wouldn't there be a line down the block?--but I encourage all mega-corporations to follow Coca-Cola's shining example: Start giving out money for free, okay?
Copyright 2013 by Fast Company. Reprinted with permission.