Interactive Coca-Cola vending machine

I’ve been interested in Coca-Cola’s latest vending machines since they were introduced as prototypes at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Known as the uVend, they have generated a lot of interest as they have completely modernised the concept of the basic vending machine.

Now, after picking up an award at the Cannes Lions 2009 International Advertising Festival in June for Point of Sale, they are to be introduced on a much wider scale and they are planning on advancing some of the great technology even further.

The machines consist of a 42 inch LCD touch screen which is integrated into the front of the vending machine. This screen utilises the latest in flash technology, high definition video and Bluetooth, creating a highly interactive and integrated retail experience.

The machine is unique in that it can vend Coca-Cola products but also advertise drinks at certain times of day to specific audiences. In this way, it is similar to a digital advert and yet the results are immediate.

Anthony Phillips, global marketing manager for Coca-Cola, said:

Coca-Cola have truly revolutionised the way in which consumers interact with vending machines and have allowed them to become immersed in the brand in a fun and unique way. As vending machines are the number two connection point for reaching consumers with the Coca-Cola brand, it is vital that they are constantly changing to match trends and demands.The machines will certainly alter the way the brand is perceived, bringing it bang up to date with tech savvy consumers. The entry into the Cannes Lions reveals that the Coca-Cola brand recognition for “”Hip and Contemporary” went from a 10% rating for traditional vending machines to 79% with the Multi-Media Coke Machine.”

The machines are currently only in operation across parts of the US, but are due to spread across the globe in the near future. Hopefully, Coca-Cola’s vending machine concept can completely change the way brands view their vending machines, making it more of a fun and interactive consumer experience.

Vending convenience

Following the last post about vending machines, I stumbled upon several other vending examples that have found very specific niches. From prescriptions to shoes to bicycle parts and now swimming suits.

InstyMeds has created a vending machine that will provide prescription drugs and is designed to be placed in emergency rooms, doctor’s offices and clinics.

Offering a remedy of comfort, Rollasole and Afterheels have been vending comfortable ballet flats in nightclubs. They even come with a matching bag to place the constricting heels in on the way home.

In the mechanical industry, Trek have introduced a machine that vends bicycle parts and is conveniently located off a bike path.

Most recently, Quicksilver have teamed up with The Standard Hotels and now have a vending machine offering their line of swimming suits at the hotel’s pools.

I like the idea of using the traditional idea of vending machines, specialising the product, and marketing to a specific niche. Being able to provide exactly what a consumer needs in the exact place provides customer satisfaction. The isolated nature of placement of vending machines also significantly lowers competition.

On the topic of isolation, many times when you NEED a vending machine, you’re not next to an electrical supply. Well, no worries, there are now solar powered vending machines, thanks to Solar Energy Vending, which can provide treats where you need them like ice-cream on the beach. Not somewhere sunny? Well, just replace the solar panels with a windmill and you can have nice hot drink at the bottom of ski slope.