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Pepsi vending machines like your social network

You can 'gift' drinks with new vending machines from PepsiCo that have text and video messaging. What, you just want to put a coin in and get a drink?


Remember "We've got the taste"? I recall back when you'd fish a few coins from your pocket, plunk them in a vending machine, and walk away with your can of fizz.

How quaint that seems now. PepsiCo is introducing interactive vending machines that can send gift drinks to your friends and record messages too.

"Be social" is the slogan of the Social Vending System, a blunt reminder that our friends are commodities.

As seen in the vid below, the networked vending machine has a touch screen displaying brands for sale. It also has a gift function with which you can give drinks to friends by entering their name and mobile phone number; standard texting rates apply and numbers are not stored unless permission is given. The machine can also record a short personalized video message.

Your friend can go to any linked vending machine, enter the code from the text message and receive the gift. Or pass it on to someone else.

Another function is "Random Acts of Refreshment," whereby you can send gift soda to strangers. "For example, a consumer could send a symbol of encouragement to someone in a city that has experienced challenging weather," PepsiCo said in a release.

The Social Vending System is being shown off at the National Automatic Merchandising Association's One Show in Chicago. PepsiCo may start testing it with partners later this year.

"The platform holds potential to extend PepsiCo's digital and social programs for its food and beverage brands," the company said.

It's ironic that "Be Social" was "Be sociable, have a Pepsi" back in the 1950s.

But being sociable is just quaint these days.