Vending machines have been around since the early 1800’s and are perceived to be a technology that is behind the times for the interactive world that we live in. With new technology that is constantly being developed, vending machines aren’t just a dirty point-of-purchase machine in the corner anymore.

In an interactive and social media driven world, it is not surprising that even our machines have social media aspects. Companies like Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Oreo and Nestles have created vending machines that interact with their audiences. The consumer approaches the machine, types in the social media account, tweets, follows or hashtags at the machine in order to receive the price inside.

What is the brand getting by creating a Twitter powered vending machine? They are getting exposure, data collection and a larger social media following. The brand can physically track the number of people that come up and enter in their information into the machine. It makes their success rate of the activation more accurate.  Coca-Cola’s dancing machine collected information from the consumer, including their video in order to send it to the consumer. Nestles' ChocoLike machine intrigued shoppers to like Nestles Facebook page in order to receive a piece of chocolate.  

Why would the consumer participate? In vending machines like Oreo’s at SWSX, the consumer adds more personalization to the product that they will be receiving.  Oreo created a machine where the consumer could develop their own Oreo flavor and style, and then they create a hashtag that goes along with the cookie.  Walkers, a snack-food Giant in England, had the #TweetToEat machine which contained famous soccer player Gary Lineker inside the machine, encouraging consumer to tweet at the Twitter handle in order to receive a free snack.

The future of social-powered vending machines. It’s just the beginning in terms of social media powered vending machines. Brands can use them at any activation as an easy, portable machine that can be set up fairly quickly. While there are many elements that go on behind the scenes, within the machine, consumers will find it a fun and personalized way to interact with the brand.

This is intern Tori Taylor's last guest post, before she wraps up her spring internship with Department Zero. 

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