Coca-Cola has just unveiled new machines in a handful of Southern California fast food joints that dispense up to 100 different beverages. They offer unheard of new flavors of soda (e.g. Raspberry Coke, Peach Fanta, etc.), fruity waters and juices, and you can also add vitamins to your beverage of choice. I recently heard about the machines on the news and you may have, too. However, what hasn't been widely reported is how these machines are being used to gauge consumer tastes in an amazingly high-tech way.
The dispenser, called the Coca-Cola Freestyle, isn't just playing bartender; it's an uber-researcher. It's collecting all the data on these taste combinations that consumers are purchasing and communicating the results back to headquarters in real time. It will then use these results to market new flavors to specific regions. Talk about a great way to integrate technology and market research!
Currently, there are only 15 machines in the marketplace, but another 60 will be in stores by the end of September. For a list of current locations, visit the Coca-Cola Freestyle fansite on Facebook.
Drink up, folks! Big Brother is paying attention.
P.S. For those of you who are Lost fans, is it just me or does the video above look like something the Dharma Initiative would produce?