December 18, 2012

Cupcakes from an ATM

Debbie and I went to a cupcake ATM despite the fact that it was literally steps away from friendly, cupcake making real-live people. Why?  Well, we bet they’re very pleasant people, they’re probably even delightful.  However, the people do not sing at you while you get your cupcakes.

Approaching the ATM from a block away, we looked up into the sky and saw the magical sign that was the bat signal of baked goods. Hot pink and fashion forward, Sprinkles Cupcakes make no qualms about who their target market is (open 24/7, they are also very aware of what the night owlish behavior of said target market may be). Sprinkles itself is one of the forerunners in the gourmet cupcake industry, in fact they claim to be the world’s first cupcake bakery. The Chicago location is located among the high-end retailers near trendy Oak Street.

With the addition of the Cupcake ATM, Sprinkles has again broken ground in the industry.

The cupcake ATM provides novelty and entertainment to the experience of buying a single cupcake (as opposed to the act of pretending that you aren’t going to go home and immediately scarf down said lone cupcake.)

It’s really important to note here:  for the most part, we do not think Sprinkles is selling cupcakes at all.  They are selling an experience of joy, delight and wonder delivered by a happily singing machine through a ball of buttery yummy goodness.  Seriously folks.  You go to the cupcake ATM because instead of handing out tens, it hands out happiness.

The ATM sings to you and celebrates the buyer and Sprinkles by providing a catchy tune while you watch the journey of your frosted treat from shelf to self. The alcove itself is heated, a must for cold Chicago winters.

This is not about the “vehicle” as in a vending machine renamed ATM for the purposes of making it cool.  Lots of things are sold through vending machines and do not receive a coolness or engagement lift.  Nor is it solely about the happy music.  It is about a line full of people standing at the ready with cameras in hand to record the event.  It is about asking your fellow line-standers what varieties are good?  (Answer:  All of them).  It is about jumping up and down in glee as your cupcake makes it way to you.

There are the naysayers: “It’s ridiculous. “ “It’s overpriced.”  “It’s a cupcake for cripes sake.”  The good news is, when it comes to retail, and especially #RetailLove, there are people who can accept grocery store cupcakes and there are people who want something a good deal more fun.  We are in the latter category.

Payment is easy as only plastic is accepted. The timer on the machine for payment keeps transactions swift, and keeps you on your toes as to not let the timer run out for fear of losing your chosen cupcake (this is not a great threat to society, but it does keep the line moving).

Of course, our visit was all in the name of research.

Happy Holidays Y’all!

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