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Twitter, Selfies, and the Latest Vending Machine Trends

At The Wise Vending Group, we’re always on the lookout for the latest vending machine trends. In recent months, we’ve looked at 24 hour vending solutions, the use of vending machines as marketing tools, vending machines that raise awareness of charitable causes, and some of the world’s most unusual vending machines.

So what else is new?

Well, an emerging trend in the world of vending is the use of social media processes as payment methods. Traditionally, vending machines dispense snacks, drinks, and other products in exchange for coins, notes, or card payments. But we’re seeing more and more examples of companies who’ll gladly give away free products for a bit of social media exposure.

The latest company to jump on this bandwagon is Bud Light, who recently built a Twitter-powered vending machine for NFL team the Denver Broncos. If users tweet a specific message using a unique hashtag, the machine dispenses a special prize. There are some 200 prizes in total, including ticket upgrades (the machine appeared in a sports stadium), Broncos merchandise, autographed skis, and even beer vouchers.

Meanwhile, selfie vending machines have started appearing in Japan. This one’s slightly different, as rather than accepting a social media action as payment, the machine instead seems to offer to take a free picture of you holding your drink, complete with a choice of special frames, backgrounds, and other effects. Presumably, users will then have an option to upload this image online.

Though offering widely different products, both of these vending machines are part of a larger trend – social media is infiltrating every aspect of our lives, even our vending machines. If it hasn’t happened already, soon our online and offline lives will be completely integrated.

We could spend our lives discussing the implications of this. But as somebody who’s spent countless hours waiting for trains with insufficient change for the vending machine, I can’t help but feel that it would be incredibly useful to be able to get a snack in exchange for a tweet.