May 11, 2011

Pepsi’s Social Vending System brings digital sharing to physical transaction

Posted by: in North America

In another manifestation of our Worlds Colliding trend—the idea that the borders between the digital and the physical worlds are becoming fuzzier—PepsiCo’s new Social Vending System allows people to send free soda to friends. Customers select a beverage and then enter the friend’s name, mobile number and a text message that includes a code that can be redeemed at another machine; they can also record a short video message, making the experience even more dynamic. And for the altruistic, there’s an option to send a beverage to a stranger.

Integrating a digital platform with a physical product or object is an exciting way for brands to create compelling experiences that also add a more social element to a solitary or small-group activity and allow a brief product interaction to live on longer. What’s also interesting about the social vending machine is that it brings a fun element to a mundane transaction, and the ability to share a short video message with friends allows customers to flex creative muscles.

Brands should look for digital opportunities to make their solitary brand touchpoints more social. We’ve already seen Renault enabling visitors at the recent Amsterdam Motor Show to “like” cars on Facebook via RFID-enabled cards. Macy’s Magic Fitting Room, featuring a camera-connected mirror and an iPad, allows customers to try on outfits while sharing the experience with Facebook friends. Imagine also wifi-enabled treadmills that trigger tweets broadcasting a person’s run time or theme parks that allow visitors to immediately share photos of their roller-coaster ride.

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