April 3rd, 2009

Coca-Cola Testing Interactive Vending Machines

By Patricia Odell
PROMO Magazine

The Coca-Cola Co. is testing 150 interactive vending machines at Simon Malls in the southeast U.S.

Shoppers will come upon the units in high traffic locations and can use the large format touch screen displays to interact with and buy Coca-Cola products.

People will also be learning about specials and promotions available at the mall and will be able to purchase the beverages using Simon Giftcards.

The flat screen is set in the vending machine doors and is divided into three sections. The machines feature functionality similar to an iPhone. For example, the mid section of the screen is where people can buy drinks. Clicking on a product lets the shopper rotate the bottle to see the label.

The top and bottom sections of the screen are used for running commercials for Coke and other Coca-Cola brands and for Simon Mall promos.

“This is just preliminary to see how the functionality goes,” Coca-Cola spokesperson Ray Crockett said.

Next-gen models of the machines will offer mobile phone downloads in the form of music files, ringtones and wallpaper, along with cashless payment and more, Coca-Cola said.

The machines were first Introduced at the Summer Olympics last year in Beijing and one the Simon dTour.

“The new machines incorporate sight, sound and motion video to take the vending experience from transaction to true interaction,” Anthony Phillips, global brand manager at Coca-Cola said in a release. “We wanted the machines to be eye-catching in a way that would turn heads and command attention.”

The new venders were developed by The Coca-Cola Co. in partnership with Samsung and interactive marketing agency Sapient.

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