Pepsi introduces “Social Vending Machine”

If you’ve ever had to dig for coins or paper money when you’ve gotten thirsty in public, you’ve probably cursed vending machines for not accepting debit or credit cards- finding the actual exact currency for vending machines is almost always a huge pain in the ass.

While this isn’t “accepting credit cards” per se, Pepsi has introduced an innovative, cash-free way of giving and getting beverages in its new “Social Vending Machine.” At the points of purchase, which will so not be the ones you run into in places where there’s nowhere else to buy a soda or get change, you can send free sodas to friends via text. Users select the beverage, enter money and send a personalized text to the beverage recipient. Some machines will be equipped with a camera, so senders can also record a video to send with the free beverage code.

In addition to the ability to send beverages to friends, Pepsi’s Social Vending Machines can also send items to strangers in what the company calls “Random Acts of Refreshment”:

Social Vending also enables “Random Acts of Refreshment” – the ability to buy a drink for a complete stranger through any other Social Vending system. For example, a consumer could send a symbol of encouragement to a city that’s experienced some challenging weather, or a congratulatory beverage to a university that just won a championship. The platform holds potential to extend all PepsiCo’s digital and social programs, including Doritos “Crash the Super Bowl” Takeover™, Pepsi Refresh Project® and DEWmocracy, beyond consumers’ own devices all the way to the point of purchase.

Would you use this function to send random friends off in search of Pepsi vending machines? What’s more desirable, a sharable Pepsi machine or a customizable Coke machine?