Monday, May 2, 2011

Pepsi vs Coke: Vending Machine Matchup

The decades-old rivalry between Pepsi and Coke extends to their vending machine technologies. In the past, the biggest difference was the look of the machines and the assortment of available soft drinks.

These days, the machines themselves incorporate technology that differentiates the drinks and allows some brand personality to shine through.

Pepsi has introduced a mobile gifting option that allows one user to "gift" another with a free Pepsi by paying for the drink at a networked Pepsi vending machine (at left) and entering the recipient's cell phone number for a text announcing the gift. The recipient then enters the gift code in any other Pepsi networked machine, and the gift will be dispensed. Users can even bestow a gift at random. 

Coca-Cola has its Freestyle vending machine (below), dispensing Coke your favorite way (106 choices in all). The Freestyle, launched in 2009, relies on RFID technology to track flavors and signal for replenishment.

Coke also offers a Freestyle game as an app. Another twist is Coke's Friendship Machine, which requires cooperation in order to get a soft drink dispensed.

Watch for more technological enhancements as Coke and Pepsi take their rivalry to the next level of distribution.

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