Coke app + 'freestyle' machines = DIY sugary drinks

Coca-Cola Freestyle is rolling out in 2012 with the ability to bring your own custom drink bar codes to your local restaurant for the perfect pour.

That mainstay from youth, the "suicide"--that's several different flavors of soda mixed together in a single glass to create one insanely sweet concoction, in case you're not in the know--is finally available on demand without having to fiddle with half a dozen 2-liter bottles.

Coca-Cola's nonstop marketing machine has introduced "Coca-Cola Freestyle," an online and real-world system that allows corn syrup (or Aspartame, for you Diet Coke drinkers) addicts to create their own soda "mixes."

The online component allows Facebook fans to fiddle with hundreds of combinations of various Coke brands and flavors, and an app for Android and iOS provides a related game. The apps also direct you to the nearest physical Coca-Cola Freestyle machine, where you can actually try out your deliciously decadent and dangerous-to-diabetics creation. There are currently more than a thousand "mix your own" dispensers in select restaurant chains, including some Burger Kings, Domino's Pizzas, Pei Wei Asian Diners, and other spots.

The idea behind Coke's online strategy and Freestyle apps is to familiarize customers with the machine before they encounter it in restaurants, and--of course--to build buzz.

Advertising Age reports that Coca-Cola is planning a big marketing push for the Freestyle campaign in 2012 with powerhouse agency Ogilvy & Mather. Part of the rollout could include the ability to create and print a bar code for a specific drink mix concocted in one of the apps. The physical machines could then read the code and create the beverage in a restaurant.

That will certainly be a relief--no more berating my 10-year old niece for not getting just the right balance of Coke Zero, Diet Pibb, and Grape Hi-C.

Check out this quick lesson on operating a Freestyle machine in the wild:

 

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