Sodas are as popular as ever, even with bad press, and attempts to curb sales and use. Too many people just plain like soda for the product not to occupy a part of the vending machine business. Sodas are the most recognizable product a vending machine sells. Either in can or bottle form the shape is uniform, and universally understood. Candy bars and chips come in various sizes and package shapes. A can is a can and a bottle is a bottle. This makes the soda the king of vending machine merchandise and why soda logos occupy the advertising space on most vending machines
More than just being the single product advertised on a vending machine, that one product, usually Coca-Cola or Pepsi also tells the consumer about everything else in the machine. Two bottlers dominate the soda market, the previously mentioned Coca-Cola and Pepsi. So a vending machine with one or the other dominating the graphics on the side tells the consumer pretty much every other drink in the machines. The Coca-Cola or Pepsi image on the outside of the machine will tell the consumer that there is Sierra Mist or Sprite, Diet coke or Diet Pepsi, Mountain Dew or any of the waters the two bottlers distribute.
Sodas are the attention getters for vending machines. It usually also says what else will be in the vending machine in terms of snacks. Vending machine placement is an important factor in soda and snack marketing. The drink machine always sits where the graphic will be most visible, but right next to the drink machine usually sits a snack machine. The soda gets the attention and variety of what is available in terms of drinks and snacks determines sales volume. The trick here is people really are not too partial to either Coca-Cola or Pepsi. Most people will tell you they don’t taste a difference. But people do have specific tastes in snacks. A Hershey chocolate bar advertised on the side of a vending machine is far less effective than a Coca-Cola or Pepsi advertisement.
Coca-Cola and Pepsi cover the tastes of many more people than Hershey’s chocolate does. Plus, as already stated, those two drinks also say to the consumer that if they don’t like Coca-Cola or Pepsi, other drinks they do like are waiting for them inside the machine. This is why you always see soda ads on the sides of vending machines, but rarely see snack ads.
Drinks machines are stocked more and more with a variety of choices, including various waters, both pure and infused, as well as juices and coffee drinks. But soda still dominates the market. Many employee vending machines will only stock diet sodas. This is because of weight issues and staff concerns for employee health. A drinks machine in an office will likely have more variety than a drinks machine in public. This means more flavored waters, juices, tea flavored drinks than the usual variety of Coca-Cole, Diet Coke, Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Dr. Pepper, Sierra Mist, Sprite, Mountain Dew and occasionally an orange, grape or raspberry soda.