Kraft Foods meets George Jetson at the vending machine

Kraft Foods is taking a step closer to the world of George and Jane Jetson, as it begins beta-testing interactive, touchscreen snack vending machines.

Instead of dropping a quarter in a slot, pulling a handle and hoping your candy will drop into a bin, these machines deliver instant access to ingredients/ nutrition information, and allow consumers to watch animated, video and interactive advertising featuring targeted promotions.

The machine's computer enables tracking of all transactions and interactions, to help with inventory tracking and stocking needs. The company is also looking at Internet-connected, Bluetooth-enabled capabilities that would make it possible to deliver targeted digital coupons and offers to consumers' mobile phones.

For now, the Diji-Touch machines, as they are called, are being tested at colleges and universities, healthcare facilities, transportation hubs and other high-traffic locations in the Boston metropolitan area.

The machines reportedly feature a 46" Samsung LCD touchscreen panel in place of the usual glass facing, an embedded networked computer, and Bluetooth capabilities for mobile downloads. Banner ads stream across the top of the screen, and full-screen ads display when the machine is not in use. Users can select multiple items; pay by cash or credit card; and change is returned in bills when appropriate, not just coins.

Kraft isn't the only company crafty enough to use new technology in vending machines. You may have heard that Coca-Cola had interactive, touchscreen beverage vending machines at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and has since been rolling them out domestically and in international markets, reportedly with great success.

Cosmo Spacely would be proud--and a little bit jealous.

Source: Marketing Daily

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