If you think you know what a vending machine can do, you are wrong.

The vending machine is a simple object that we resort to in true times of need.  Usually found on station platforms, in libraries or arcade centres, they offer sweets, crisps, water or fizzy drinks at a slightly above average price.  When we buy from a vending machine, we really are in need.  But what if they could offer something different?  What if they could offer the user an interactive experience?

Strap yourselves in readers – I’m about to knock your fucking socks off!!

Quite a recent example here, from the launch of Skyfall.  This Coke Zero VM in a Brussels train station gave users 70 seconds to get across the station in order to get a coke.  The only problem I have with this is that they all seem like actors so am unsure how I feel towards it!

This Italian example from Let’s Pizza will knead the dough, add toppings and grill in an infrared oven in 3 minutes whilst you wait.  No need to miss your train waiting for a kebab with one of these on the platform!

Another example from Coca-Cola here where you have to compete in a dance off with the VM in order to win a free coke!

To discover British Colombia, the tourism office set up one of the biggest machines I’ve ever seen in San Francisco and it gave out free gifts to prompt people to get out and explore the state, including bicycles and surfboards.

Coca Cola again, under the disguise of Sprite.  Not quite a VM but we will give them the benefit of the doubt.  To raise awareness of heat exhaustion and the importance of staying hydrated, they set up in Rio De Janeiro on the beach with showers to keep people safe during the hot weather.  There were also promoters floating round with some free bottles too!

One of my favourites here called Rugbeer.  This campaign generated a 25% sales increase in pubs and bars where the machine was installed.  Once you had paid for your beer, you had to smash into the machine as hard as you could in order to receive it.  Too weak, and you don’t get the beer.  An awesome interactive project where guys can set their status without all crowding round a punchbag like a bunch of “pros”.

Back to Coca Cola now, and you’re probably starting to notice that they love a good Vending Machine.    This is one they put in an American college as part of their “happiness” campaign, where it would randomly give out free treats to people waiting, including pizzas and sandwiches.

You’re probably thinking that these VMs are all very clever, but what if there’s a power cut – they would be useless!  That is not the case with this little treat, where all it requires is 70 turns of the handle, and a 20 second wait, and 6-7 goods will drop out all at once!  It was designed in Japan to work if an earthquake cut the power.

Coca Cola were clearly getting a bit miffed in 2012, as they clearly failed to patent the vending machine concept, so they built the world’s largest VM in London in celebration of the 2012 Olympics.

It was only a matter of time, but here we have it…a Twitter integrated VM.  Just tweet the machine with the appropriate hashtag et voila, free tea!

NOT Coca Cola but Pepsi this time, with another social VM.  With this machine, you can buy yourself a drink, or gift one to a friend to redeem form a machine later with a code.  You pay for it, and they get sent a code to redeem whenever they like.

These two from Delites aim to find out how far you will go to get a free bag of Delites.  The first made people do silly tings in the square like push the button 10, 100, 1000 times, dance and sing.  The second video made people run in a mousewheel up to a certain speed, and then gave them 5 seconds to get off and hit the button.  The results are hilarious.

Back to Coca Cola for their Valentines Day promotion, where all you had to do is prove your love to the machine and you’d each win a bottle of coke!  One for the girls, but an all round nice idea with good results.

Another of my favourites here, bringing you Kenneth from Kenco, who speaks to you and interacts live with passers by from someone watching nearby.

This luxury dessert manufacturer doesn’t think their product is worthy of children – it’s a treat for adults to enjoy, so they set up a VM with state of the art age recognition software that would read a consumer’s face, and deem if they were old enough to earn a free pudding or not!  In a different campaign, another company used similar software to recognise pregnant women and reward them with flowers for Mother’s Day.

Red Bull were of course going to appear here somewhere, and they recently introduced a drive-thru in Brazil.  They blocked one floor of the lift with a VM and offered free energy drinks to people, with a different message at different times of the day such as “Start your day with a boost” at 9am, or “don’t start lagging” at 3pm.

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