Out & About: Coke’s Interactive Kiosk

I didn’t run into the Happiness Machine, but I ran into the next best thing – Coke’s interactive (via touch screen) vending machine.  A true 11th Screen kiosk.  Say what you will about Coke as a product – as a brand, I think they are doing many things right.  They do a good job across platforms, they’re really good at social, and as most recently evidenced by their Happiness Machine, they’re pushing IOOH, and innovation.  I saw this 3-sided kiosk in a mall – 2 of the sides consisted of branding (from other advertisers) and then, this side, was one big interactive display.

I think this scorecard review is going to be pretty straight-forward.

Purpose – The purpose here is clear – sell drinks.  I don’t know why more and more products like these don’t do what Coke has done here.  You’re going to have vending machines.  People already buy from them.  Why not maximize that effort by creating something that can immerse consumers deeper into the brand and can support other advertisements?  (I assume cost is one of the biggest barriers.)  With this framework, Coke can advertise their own products, other advertiser’s products, or even the mall.

Drama – You can see for yourself – you can’t miss this thing.  I think the one thing working against it, just as any installation like this, is the fact that digital (non-interactive) posters are commonplace throughout malls today.  Someone could see this and just expect for it not to be interactive.  I think they’ve done a good job here of utilizing the space – the primary real estate for the products and the secondary real estate for ads.  Something moves on the screen at all times, so it stands a real good chance of stopping people.

Usability – There were two things I could do besides purchasing.  1) Select one of the drinks and 2) scroll through them.  The experience wasn’t deep at all.  Simple.  But just right.  My mom could operate this without any trouble.

Interactivity – This was a single-touch touch screen and not much different than a “normal” vending machine.  The screen was responsive to touch (even though it might not look like it at the beginning of the video – I sometimes have a hard time operating the camera and touching at the same time) and I thought it was executed very well.  I like how they also included a mobile component for one of their products (Sprite) whereby the user could text in a short code, made aware by this screen, to receive updates and rewards.  Although this particular component doesn’t connect offline with online, they’re smart to include it if they have it, particularly in a dynamic experience like this.

Information – High quality video, animation, stills.  They told the Coke (and products) stories with the ads, not the interactive component.  Every piece of content in here is highly produced which is necessary when displayed on something this big.  I thought they did a good job of incorporating the right content, not only type of content, but length of content.  And they ran all of the ads on a loop.  This was all very purposeful and run by someone who knew the space and what they were doing.

Personalization – No real personalization beyond my single-touch, single-user experience.  The mobile component brought a level of personalization in the fact that it extends the experience onto a consumer’s mobile phone, which is very personal.  As far as the actual kiosk goes, though, there was really no need for my experience to be personalized.  (Now, in the future, when this experience is smart enough to know that I like Coke and not Diet Coke, not only can it serve me the right ads, but it can also present me with the right options instead of everything in the lineup.  Then, it’d be personalized.)

All in all, I was really happy to see this.  Hopefully cost won’t be as big of a barrier in the future as it might be now and we’ll see these more and more.  It sure does make a lot of sense.

Have any of you seen any of these?  Not only for Coke but other brands?  Probably the most notable is Best Buy’s interactive vending machines, but this is the first I’ve seen of a drink maker.  If so, shoot them my way.  I’d love to learn about them.

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