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Coca-Cola Flexes Its Design Chops on New Machines

Posted by: Damian Joseph on June 22, 2009

Coca-Cola’s (KO) Director of Industrial Design Vince Voron just finished up his talk with Sapient’s Director of Program Management Michael Leonard at the Forrester’s Customer Experience Forum in New York. In the speech, “How Coca-Cola is Integrating Brand Equities, Industrial Design, and Marketing To Gain Competitive Advantage in the Marketplace,” Voron talked about how the two companies worked together on new Coca-Cola vending machines, fountains, and coolers to enhance customer experience.

Here are a couple fizzy facts:
- Coke serves 1.5 billion soft drinks around the world each day
- There are 10 million Coca-Cola-branded machines around the world

Check out a couple of I&D writer Jessie Scanlon's past stories about Coca-Cola's design work here and here.

Two years ago, the company launched what it said was "one of the biggest R&D ventures in Coca-Cola's history"--to revamp the entire line of coolers, vending machines, and fountains. The company calls the machines "stores within stores" and "interaction points with customers." It worked with Sapient and Samsung on a line of machines that begin debuting later this year: a new fountain machine that serves 100-plus different beverages; re-imagined coolers that use classic Coca-Cola design themes and 40% less energy; and fully interactive vending machines with large display screens that are both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth-enabled. The connectivity technologies will let customers download music, coupons, or other promos to their cell phones.

Voron said the company's design process underwent a monumental shift. Instead of "designing what was manufactured"--i.e. manufacturers made the machines and Coke designed around them--they have switched to manufacturing what they design"--now the company designs what they'd like in a machine and tells manufacturers that if they want the business, they'll make what Coke desires.

And don't worry, all those old machines aren't being thrown into landfills. They also created retrofit kits to swap out old doors from coolers with the newly designed ones. Check out the new vending machine in these two clips.



What comes next? The Bloomberg Businessweek Innovation and Design blog chronicles new tools for creativity and collaboration, innovation case studies in both the corporate and social sectors, and the new ideas that have the power to change the way things have always been done.

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