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.