Coca Cola vending machines as you know them will be changed forever should the following be rolled out globally in the coming years. This summer, over in the US, they are rolling out what they are calling the Coca-Cola Freestyle, which is actually pretty cool. It has a touch screen to make your drinks choice through and 100 flavours, some of which have never been commercially available before like Orange Coke, Peach Fanta and Strawberry Sprite. It’s currently only being tested in their corporate HQ’s at San Diego and Atlanta but beginning this month they will be trialling 20 in live restaurants including Subway.
It sounds cliched but when some head honcho of a division of Coke said “It’s like the iPod of drink machines. We’re essentially reinventing the dispensed beverage business.” He could be right.
According to reports, it’s taken 4 years to produce and over $100m in R&D, when you’ve spent that much money purely on developing an idea, you know they’re going to put everything behind it to make it work.
They wanted to make it fun and easy to use, without reminding people of a cash machine or a computer. To do this, they recruited Vince Voron, now senior director of industrial design, from Apple to work on the project. Behind it all, it transmits data over night about what was sold and at what time that day. Already, they’ve found out that after 3pm Caffeine-Free Diet Coke spikes. Interesting.
Here’s the corporate introduction, and to follow is the ‘in the wild’ public reaction. The latter is a bit more animated..