Coca-Cola Freestyle Marketing Uses AWS to Drive Value with Touchless Pouring for Custom Drinks
When the COVID-19 pandemic reshaped consumer behavior, the Coca-Cola Company launched a touchless pouring feature on its Coca-Cola Freestyle beverage machines to improve consumer experience and drive marketing outcomes. Built on Amazon Web Services (AWS) in just 100 days, the solution, Mobile Pour, lets consumers choose and pour drinks from the machines in seconds using their phones.
Mobile Pour launched on 500 Freestyle machines in July 2020. By November, Mobile Pour was available on all 25,000 machines in dine-in restaurants worldwide. The innovation and agility of the Freestyle experience generated brand love and engagement.
It’s amazing how fast we launched Mobile Pour using AWS and how it checked all the boxes. It’s great for our consumers, our customers, and our system. It positioned us as an innovative company offering solutions.”
Group Marketing Director, Coca-Cola Freestyle
Offering a Safe, Fun Experience for Consumers Using AWS
Introduced in 2009, the Coca-Cola Freestyle machine is a beverage factory that delivers 200 brand choices from up to eight different beverage categories—all at the touch of a few buttons.
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Coca-Cola Freestyle conducted market analysis on consumer feelings about interacting with the machines. In May 2020, research found that 70 percent who go to quick-service restaurants like or love the machine and 50 percent of soda fountain consumers said they are not concerned about using a Freestyle. However, there was an opportunity to reach the 50 percent who did feel concerned about touching it. Also, 60 percent of consumers preferred to self-pour because they felt safer or liked to customize their drink.
Coca-Cola Freestyle developed a Mobile Pour prototype in just 1 week in April 2020 using AWS. After limited testing in June, it rolled out the solution more broadly. “Mobile Pour gave us a reason to have a conversation with customers and remove a worry for them,” says Eric Lewis, group marketing director of Coca-Cola Freestyle.
Growing Consumer Interest in Coca-Cola Freestyle
After the launch, an August press release announcing the new Freestyle experience yielded over 500 million impressions. “That was a big win,” says Lewis. “We’re always tracking brand awareness, brand love, and future purchase intent.” Among those who go to restaurants with Freestyle machines, around 25 percent knew about Mobile Pour within 3 months of worldwide release. Half of consumers who learn about Mobile Pour become more interested in buying a Coca-Cola Freestyle drink.
Mobile Pour enabled Coca-Cola Freestyle customers to increase consumer awareness and interest. “A movie theater posts weekly on a social site about offering contact-free pouring,” says Lewis. “It’s giving our customers a great story to tell their consumers: ‘Come out—we’re doing all we can to give you a great experience.’”
High consumer interest in Mobile Pour also drives sales for Coca-Cola Freestyle. “We’re seeing an increase in our long-tail volume. We offer 200 choices, and the more we sell beyond the top 10, the more we validate Coca-Cola Freestyle as a consumer-loved proposition,” says Lewis.
Driving Consumer Engagement
Coca-Cola Freestyle plans to boost engagement by gamifying the touchless pour experience and adding loyalty rewards. “And maybe we can get consumers to try a new drink only available on the Freestyle machine, like Sprite Peach,” says Lewis. “It’s amazing how fast we launched Mobile Pour using AWS and how it checked all the boxes. It’s great for our consumers, our customers, and our system. It positioned us as an innovative company offering solutions.”
For more information on how Coca-Cola Freestyle launched contactless pouring in 100 days using AWS, read here.
About Coca-Cola Freestyle
Benefits of AWS
- Provided a contactless Coca-Cola Freestyle experience for consumers
- Spread awareness of Mobile Pour to 25% of people who go to participating restaurants
- Observed a 50% increase in Coca-Cola Freestyle beverage buying interest in consumers who learn about Mobile Pour
- Drove value of the Freestyle experience for customers and consumers
- Enabled customers to draw more consumers and engagement with touchless pour
AWS Services Used
AWS Lambda is a serverless compute service that lets you run code without provisioning or managing servers, creating workload-aware cluster scaling logic, maintaining event integrations, or managing runtimes. With Lambda, you can run code for virtually any type of application or backend service - all with zero administration.
Amazon API Gateway
Amazon API Gateway is a fully managed service that makes it easy for developers to create, publish, maintain, monitor, and secure APIs at any scale.