To be in the game these days, companies are all going social. From Google's many attempts and continued attempts in the online social platform realm to now Pepsi applying the social model to their physical vending machines. Pepsi has just unveiled its Social Vending Machine today at a trade show in Chicago that will let users gift drinks to friends and even strangers.
The machine has a touchscreen interface that gives users the option to either buy a drink, gift a drink, redeem a drink, or connect with the Pepsi Refresh Project. With the gift a drink option, you can select the drink you want to gift and then enter your friend's phone number along with a text message and an optional video message. Your friend will receive the text message on their phone with a code they can use to redeem the drink at their local social vending machine. There's also the option to gift strangers with the "random acts of refreshment" feature.
However, without any tie-ins with Facebook or Twitter or any kind of iOS or Android app, the service seems to have missed its potential. Having to physically be at the vending machine to type in phone numbers and text messages on screen while folks wait in line behind you just seems bothersome. Below is a demo video of how it works.