BE2C2 Report — A picturesque village in Graubuenden, a mountainous region in Switzerland, is home to the world’s first ATM to dispense Swiss chocolate – free of charge.
It’s a chocolate lover’s dream- young and old. And a unique brand marketing strategy.
The dream has become a reality in Praettigau-Davos, where Swiss lender Raiffeisen has built an “experience bank”.
The bank branch is furnished in muted colors, local wood, and alpine chic touches – and a cash machine which dispenses Swiss chocolate instead of francs.
Clients can withdraw milk chocolate from chocomat “Sweetie” anytime the craving hits – day or night – simply by inserting a credit or debt card, Raiffeisen executive Roger Buergler (pictured below) wrote on the bank’s blog.
However, Raiffeisen is limiting the sweet withdrawals to one per day per client in order to avoid supply bottlenecks: according to Buergler, it has become popular for entire classes of schoolchildren to draw their share daily.
The chocolate temptation is actually targeted to an older audience who can be skeptical of using cash machines, he said.
Besides the Chocomat, Raiffeisen has given the entire branch a makeover, leaning heavily on regional accents. Advisors receive clients in cubicles made from larch wood and upholstered in cowhide. Clients perch on chalet-style cushions in an open area, while other, more private client zones are full-out alpine Graubuenden.
The branch’s reception area is more reminiscent of a well-heeled spa or business class lounge than a bank.
“With the ascent of online banking, it’s a unique way to draw depositors and clients physically to the bank location,” said one banker to BE2C2.