Aetna: Machine 11

Yifei Chai

Aetna: Machine 11

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Every cigarette you smoke shortens your life by 11 minutes. The team at Ogilvy decided to turn this around and think about it in a more positive way: Every cigarette you don’t smoke could add 11 minutes to your life.

Ogilvy reached out to the UNIT9 product design team to build a custom machine. Machine 11 is a large white rectangular device that diffuses a soft purple light. A small suction device in its centre lights up when a cigarette is inserted into it and, consequently, a prize capsule is dispensed. Each capsule = an 11-minute experience.

Working round the globe, we outlined the whole machine’s mechanical design from scratch using CAD. We designed custom-printed circuit boards to power it in London and 3D-printed them in Brooklyn. We built the machine in 4 weeks.

On a rainy Monday the Aetna machine was placed in a street in New York. We filmed the reactions of passersby who exchanged cigarettes for a variety of experiences, including petting puppies. It seemed to cheer them up, despite the weather!


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