Coca Cola is one of the most valuable brands in the world. The carbonated soft drink is sold in more than 200 countries around the world. Based in Atlanta, Georgia in the United States, it is oftentimes simply referred to as Coke.
Coca Cola was originally intended as a patent medicine when it was first created by John Pemberton in the latter part of the 19th century. Asa Griggs Candler, who introduced aggressive tactics in marketing the soda, later brought out Pemberton. This led to the product’s dominance of the soft drink market in the world for the entire 20th century.
How is Coca Cola produced and distributed? Well, the company first produces the concentrate. The concentrate is then sold only to licensed bottlers around the world. These bottlers have exclusive contracts based on territory with the company. After receiving the concentrate, the bottlers will mix it with filtered water and sweeteners, before putting the finished product in bottles and cans. These are then distributed to retail outlets and vending machines so that they may be sold to the public.
Over the years, Coca Cola has taken a leadership role in advertising and distributing a product. Its campaigns have become famous around the world, with people still familiar with lines like Coca Cola adds life, have a Coke and a smile, Coke is it, and always Coca cola. Who can ever forget Mean Joe Greene’s television commercial for the iconic soft drink brand?
These days, the company has continued to play a lead role, this time with its interactive vending machines. To paraphrase one of the lines from an old advertising campaign, Coca Cola has added life to the old vending machine!
The Coca Cola Interactive Vender
The second-generation interactive vending machine was launched during the National Automatic Merchandising Association One Show. It features a new thermoformed panel for its closed front packaged beverage vending machines.
Test machines were earlier installed in public venues that offered high foot traffic around the nation, particularly in the Southeast states. The target market is the younger consumer because they have been identified as the demographic that are most open and attracted to interactive technology. Thus, vending machines would be installed in venues where this demographic congregates the most. Future deployment strategies would then be based on the result of this test.
The machines received tremendous positive feedback, performing strongly and generating excitement in its test markets. Based on the tests, the second-generation vending machines were then tweaked to make it more robust, reliable and scalable, though the same functionality and basic screen layout were retained.
The Architecture of the New Interactive Vending Machines
The company, in cooperation with the South Korean giant Samsung and the interactive marketing agency called Sapient, developed the new interactive Coca Cola vending machines. The machine is based on the body of the Royal Vendors’ Model 804. It was customized with an LCD touch screen that measured 46 inches across, as well as a sophisticated controller that allowed multimedia functionality.
Other features include the use of Flash technology, motion graphics, video messaging using high definition, and Bluetooth short-range wireless capability. These allow the deployment of features that are designed to please the user, including click-through promotions so that the user can interact with the different products of the company. Consumers can also learn more about promotions that are specific to their location.
The panel features touch screen capability divided into three media zones. These include:
- At the top is a customizable and dynamic display. This can be used for advertising and for displaying related video content.
- At the middle is a selection zone with a display of the products available in the machine. There is also an icon that can spin 360 degrees that would allow the user to view the product’s nutritional content and information.
- At the bottom is an application zone that is interactive in nature. The user can click through this zone to display any promotion applicable to the area. Video programs can also be seen here.
The content for all these three multimedia zones can be updated from a remote location.
From Functional to Memorable
The main point of these new interactive vending machines from Coca Cola is to provide a truly memorable experience for the user. Vending machines are known to be functional, in which the product that you want would be spat out at the drop of money. The new machines will provide much more than that.
The new machines allow the user a platform of different applications. Users can play games on the vending machine’s screen. Mobile phone ring tones and wallpapers may also be downloaded from the machines. Aside from these, they may also provide digital coupons and even social networking applications.
Some of the more specific applications already used include the following:
Concentration – Users may activate this game at the touch of a button on the vending machine’s application zone. By pressing on the Memory Match button, the entire screen will be filled with a game, in which the user has to match brand logos of the Coca Cola company by pairs. There is a time limit to the game, and it plays a lot like the classic card game called Concentration.
Add Happiness – Using the machine will add happiness to the consumer who has bought the Coca Cola, but will also allow the user to add happiness to other people by making a donation to the American Red Cross. The Red Cross is considered to be the country’s premier emergency response organization. The donation may be made using a debit or credit card, and can also be done without the need of a purchase.
Microsoft Kinect – Machines have been equipped with the video game console so that users can mimic the dance moves being shown in the video. Users can dance and cheer, with the highest scorers getting free Cokes.
James Bond’s Skyfall – Users entered their names after purchasing from the machine. They were then asked to navigate through obstacles in the screen. Those who get to reach the final destination were given free tickets to the Bond movie.
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