Japanese vending machine operator Apex and ad agency WillB are introducing vending machines that will give users a free or discounted drink if they are prepared to watch an advertisement that plays on the touch screen that’s also used to order the drinks. Apex is the country’s second largest vending machine operator and the ad funded freebies will include coffee and soft drinks. Ads will appear on the cups, too, with advertisers paying 70 to 80 yen (roughly 30p, 40 Euro cents or 60 US cents) per cup distributed.Since it takes about 30 seconds to fill a cup with a coffee, espresso, cappuccino or juices, customers simply stand by and watch advertising on the screen instead of thinking about the quasi-convincing head of milk foam generated from a mysterious white powdery substance emitted from the machine, so it seems like a real win-win for advertiser and consumer alike.
MediaSoon notes, though, that too much success can be a good thing: "the drinks cost... 100 Yen. No surprise that the idea went down great. But WillB got a little more success than they bargained for - no less than 30,800 cups were drunk within a week." Of course, if the cost of the drink is subsidized -- and at between 70-80 yen for on-cup advertising and whatever they get per view of the digital media it looks like it should be -- this concept could take off in lots of high traffic areas where eyeballs might be even more valuable than hard currency.