The Yakult Vending Machine wants people to learn Japanese for a free Yakult
The vending machine is a symbol of modern Japan, an unusual yet very popular attraction for visitors from all over the world. The unique Yakult Artificial Intelligence Vending Machine, developed in the UK, aims to offer a slice of Japan through an engaging experience that sees users learn words in the Nippon language to receive a free bottle of Yakult. This mechanic builds on one of the brand’s main communication pillars – Japanese heritage.
The Yakult Vending Machine uses real time natural language processing to interpret what users are saying and reward them. It’s a completely bespoke machine, with integrated touch screen, camera, microphone and speakers, and can go as far as detecting when someone is walking by and looking at it, thereby triggering the experience to begin.
The interaction with the Yakult Vending Machine is very intuitive and relies on a combination of audio messages and animation. The users simply need to touch the screen to choose the Japanese word they want to learn, repeat it until they get it right, select the product they prefer and collect it.
‘We want to offer our Yakult drinkers a fun experience whenever we have the chance to interact with them. We are constantly looking for new ways to deliver our brand messages in an authentic and entertaining way. Yakult is a science-based company, with over 85 years of research behind our iconic little bottle, but we also have a strong distinctive personality which we aim to express through all our activities.’– Emma Dita, PR Manager Yakult UK & Ireland
‘We were very excited to work with Yakult on this unique project, as the concept was different than anything we’ve done before. We were faced with a number of new challenges and we had to be creative to overcome them, but I’m proud of the result and of the team involved. More so since we can all say a few words in Japanese now!’– Jason Vicente, Co-Founder and Managing Director Aeguana
The technology developed for the Yakult Vending Machine offers flexibility in terms of the mechanic, which means that in the future it might ask users to do something completely different for their free Yakult. When thinking of new engagement options, the main focus will always be on the creative element and brand messages, to create an engaging experience.
To offer people the chance to learn a word in Japanese and get a free Yakult, in 2018 the vending machine will travel around the UK and Ireland, for events like the Festival of Curiosity taking place in Dublin in July, and the British Science Festival happening in September in Hull.
Yakult was founded by the Japanese scientist Dr Shirota, who in the 1930s selected and cultivated Lactobacillus caseiShirota, a unique strain of bacteria that is scientifically proven to reach the gut alive. Every bottle of Yakult contains at least 6.5 billion Lactobacillus casei Shirota. Every day, more than 39 million Yakult products are consumed in 38 countries and regions around the world. There are two products available in the UK and Ireland, Yakult and Yakult Light – the reduced sugar and lower calorie option. Both products are gluten free, fat free and suitable for vegetarians.
For more information, follow Yakult on Facebook @yakultUKIE or visit www.yakult.co.uk.
For press enquiries, please contact:
Emma Dita– EDita@yakult.co.uk/ 07967 462 011