Coke is going to start advertising other brands on its vending machines, beginning with a pilot programme in California. AVT has negotiated a cooperative agreement with Coca Cola to distribute vending machines with three to six month campaigns. Jointly, Coke and AVT will invite strategic companies to advertise on the network, generating revenue from the network of Coke machines along with other AVT vending systems.
AVT’s founder, Shannon Illingworth, tells us:
“We have retrofitted our AVTi digital advertising signage hardware/software into multiple Coca-Cola vending systems located at Laguna Hills Shopping Mall in Laguna Hills, California, for the initial stage of a multi-phase southern California base pilot program with Coke. This is creating an opportunity for Coca-Cola to be part of type of network that it is so familiar with branding and disseminating information.”
The advertising LCDs are being retrofitted into Coke vending systems and are connected by 3G modems which link all the systems to the Internet, which in turn links to AVT’s dynamic server located in California. On the server, there’s software which can dynamically control and update the content on any Coke vending systems at push of a few keystrokes.
This is certainly an interesting approach, though we're forced to wonder whether some brands might be concerned about advertising on a large, entirely Coke-branded machine. Lately we've seen all kinds of digital signage networks that rely on an installed base of other devices (kiosks, ATMs, etc.), but in those cases the original devices themselves don't carry a lot of own-brand messaging. Not so in this case, as anybody who has ever seen a Coca-Cola vending machine can attest to. Coke is very strong at getting their own brand messages across. We wonder how well they'll do at getting advertisers to play at the same level. And if advertisers are able to keep up, will Coke be concerned at all about the additional, non-core messages being lobbed at consumers at the First Moment of Truth?