WANSSUM, The Netherlands -- US Candy Network, a Dutch company, has created a futuristic vending machine on wheels as a new platform for marketing and advertising. Called MARV -- Media and Advertising Racing Vehicle -- the electric-powered robotic tricycle dispenses candy, drinks and other refreshments in a special packaging designed to display advertisements.
The touchscreen machine recognizes and interacts with customers using Microsoft's Kinect system. It allows them to view movies, print coupons, get a discount, play games or plug in their iPads. It enables payment through Internet or smartphone. Next year, the Kinect 2 system will be installed, allowing MARV to even talk to its customers.
"MARV offers companies the possibility of target advertising and product placement," US Candy Network's Chantal Kersten explained. "When someone at the movies sees a product in the latest blockbuster, he goes out for candy during the break and at the same time gets a discount coupon for that product."
The machine can be custom-made into characters from movies or amusement parks or other corporate designs.
An American "mega toy store" has reportedly ordered a large number of machines, on which children can play virtual games in stores or get discounts. Additionally, a major sponsor of the World Football Championships in Brazil next year has reportedly ordered 14 MARVs to be built, according to the manufacturer. The company said that the advertising space on the back of the coupons has been claimed by a fast-food company, too.
The vending machines are assembled at US Candy Network, which also designs and updates the software. The company said it expects to deliver 3,000 machines in the coming year.
With the official launch in Cologne, 478mr.com goes live. It will launch at the world's largest sweets and snacks fair ISM in Cologne, Germany on Jan. 26.