Pepsi Launches Social Media Vending Machine: “Give Us Your Money… And Your Friend’s Contact Information!”

May 13th, 2011 by Sandi Moxley

In the constantly changing landscapes of social media, there’s a constant ebb and flow of brave people trying out whacky ideas in order to best capitalize on massive audiences. Sometimes you wonder if we’ve seen it all. Well, we haven’t.

Last week Pepsi unveiled their social vending machine, probably coming soon to a high school campus near you. In an attempt to get ‘em while they’re young, Pepsi vending machines now offer the option to “gift” a soda to a friend. Just enter in your friend’s name and mobile number, along with a personalized video message recorded by the vending machine, and voila! Your friend will receive a text message notifying them of your thirst quenching generosity, along with instructions on how and where to redeem the soda. When the gifted soda is redeemed, the previously recorded video message plays back on the screen. Pretty nifty.

An additional function of this new age vending machine is the “Random Acts of Refreshment” function, or in plain terms, the “send-a-free-soda-and-some-encouraging-words-to-a-stranger” function. Pepsi is creatively selling their product as a way to interact with one another, using “Be Social” as the tagline for this campaign. Not to mention, Pepsi is not-so-covertly obtaining massive leads by collecting personal data from everyone who wants to participate, including the sender and the receiver.

Will this vending machine blaze a new social media trail? …Or become one of the many social media blunders of the past, like these unfortunate brave souls:

  • The popular television drama House M.D. wrote Dr. Kutner off the show via suicide, then the Network built an alter/memorial on their website for fans to mourn together. Obviously many fans found this blatant capitalization of social media on the topic of suicide a tad insensitive.
  • Quizno’s received so much public backlash for their 2009 viral video campaign, that they now officially deny any affiliation to that video. C’mon, what kind of attention did they expect “2 Girls, 1 Sandwich” would receive?

Personally, I think this social vending concept is smart, fun, and creative. Creativity is a crucial part of making your social media campaign stand out.  Rest assured, we put a lot of elbow grease into finding the right ways to make social media work for our clients.

Tags: Facebook, ionic blog, marketing, marketing campaigns, social, Social Media, Social Media Marketing

About Sandi Moxley

Sandi Moxley is Associate Manager of SEO and Social Media.