Pepsi’s Social Vending Machine Wants to Be Friends

Just what do you think you're doing, Dave? Would you like a soft drink? I have seen the future, and it is the vending machine. Make that the "social vending system," which is the snappy name of Pepsi's networked touch-screen machine that "enables consumers to better connect with PepsiCo brands right at the point of purchase." Awesome, now I can bond with Mountain Dew. The technology lets consumers buy sodas, connect with the Pepsi Refresh Project (That's still around? Where's my million for whatever it is I do?), and give drink codes as gifts through the Internet. You can even record a video message, perhaps explaining to your friends why you were too cheap to buy a better present. It's still not quite as magical as the Coke machine that dispenses happiness, but isn't Pepsi always playing catch-up? I wonder if these social vending units jam like their "analog" forebears? Open the pod-bay doors, HAL, I want my damn Pepsi!

@DaveGian David Gianatasio is a longtime contributor to Adweek, where he has been a writer and editor for two decades. Previously serving as Adweek's New England bureau chief and web editor, he remains based in Boston.