Blogosphere Goes Wild Over PepsiCo’s Social Vending System

Are you excited about the vending industrys future yet? A lot of people are, if reaction to PepsiCo Inc.s Social Vending System is any indication.I noted two weeks ago that video touchscreens were a big theme at the National Automatic Merchandising Association OneShow in Chicago. The booth that dominated media coverage has been PepsiCo Inc.s Social Vending System, a touch-screen interactive vending machine designed to foster greater connection with PepsiCo brands.The machine allows consumers to buy drinks as gifts and to offer them to others in the form of redeemable codes via mobile text messages. The buyer simply enters the recipient's name, mobile number, a personal message, a code number, and an optional video message, then sends it. The recipient can redeem the beverage at their convenience.PepsiCos commitment to social media began last year when it ended 10 years of Superbowl TV commercials to introduce its Pepsi Refresh project, using Facebook, Twitter, live Ustream video and an iPhone application to encourage customers to suggest social causes that would refresh the world. The Social Vending System integrates vending with this project.There were plenty of impressive touchscreens at OneShow, but the PepsiCo machine grabbed the spotlight to a level never before witnessed at a NAMA show. The PepsiCo machine has been the subject of more print articles, Website news stories, and blog commentaries than any NAMA exhibit.Many have claimed that PepsiCo has reinvented how consumers will use vending machines.VendingMarketWatch reports today that outspoken food industry critic Marion Nestle, writing in the International Business Times, cites the Pepsi Social Vending System as further proof that the food industry is subverting young peoples minds.PepsiCo has taken a big step in showing how vending technology can give vending new relevance. If a company of this caliber believes in the technology, the industry as a whole can feel certain there is something in it for all of us.NAMA has picked up on the possibilities and has made social media and vending technology the centerpiece of its the industry growth strategy announced at OneShow.I noted in my first post-show blog that the technology raises plenty of questions. The Pepsi machine is still in its test stage, and the company is several steps away from a nationwide rollout of these machines.Whats certain, though, is our industry has a bright future.

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