Thrive in our connected world

Vending Machine Wars: Pepsi Like Machine and Future of Sampling [Video]

Here’s a smart digital innovation from Pepsi (TBWA Belgium) that’s upped the ante in the ongoing Vending Machine Wars between Pepsi and Coke. Although Coke is currently ahead with 10M+ views on YouTube for the Coke Zero/James Bond vending machine, the new “Like Machine” from Pepsi is a brilliant but imperfect glimpse of the future on product sampling.

Simply ‘Like’ Pepsi on the Facebook-connected machine, and get your free can. Free sample for a Like.  Only problem is that you have to either download a Pepsi app to your smartphone first (to interact with the machine), or plug in your FB details on a huge keyboard on the machine that screams ‘copy my FB credentials’. So it’s not exactly frictionless or secure…

But imagine if your digital wallet contained a remote login app (NFC/Bluetooth) that interacted with a range of vending machines. Depending on your profile, vending machines the world over could offer free samples.  Brands would get the consumer data via the login/like, and could enjoy a word of mouth effect, both online and offline.   No unemployed stroppy fashion models recruited to hand out samples would be harmed – or used – in the process.

Ever since P&G started its teen online sampling panel Tremor over a decade ago, we’ve been bullish about how the unsexy, but very effective marketing backwater known as product sampling could be revolutionised through digital innovation.  The Pepsi Like machine is a step in the right direction. We Like.




Written by
Dr Paul Marsden
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1 comment
  • Hi Dr. Marsden,

    We are a startup based out of Bangalore in India called Trynbuy India which i doing similar stuff of what you have written above. We launched the world’s first free sample vending machine last year when techcrunch event came to bangalore. This vending machine is operated via our mobile app which delivers the right product to the right person based on their profile. Do have a look at It will be great to have your thoughts.


Digital wellbeing covers the latest scientific research on the impact of digital technology on human wellbeing. Curated by psychologist Dr. Paul Marsden (@marsattacks). Sponsored by WPP agency SYZYGY.