Branding Beat - Cut Through the Noise

Lay’s Potato Chips: A New Revolution of Vending Machines Is Upon Us

I think everyone can agree that most vending machines stink. You study all of your options carefully while taking out that wrinkled dollar bill wadded up in your pocket. When you’ve finally made your selection, you smooth it out on the corner of the machine then insert it into the slot. Not to your surprise, it spits your dollar back out at you, so you scrounge up some change, only to find you’re ten cents short. However, when you have a snack attack, sometimes that machine in the break room or in the lobby is your only resort.

And how about when that delicious treat gets stuck between the glass and the metal coil? What do you do then? Most people shake the machine or pound on the glass to get it loose. I’ve even seen people get their arm stuck reaching in for the tasty prize! But I usually just end up cursing at the stupid machine, because I can’t possibly shake it, and then shelling out another $1.75 to knock the chips loose with another snack item. All just to curb my craving for a salty indulgence.

But what if I told you there was a vending machine featuring an intricate system of tubes, flames, and boiling water that makes a fresh bag of potato chips right in front of you from start to finish? Even better, all it would cost is one spud. Would you be intrigued to try it out? Take a look…

I know what you’re thinking: “OMG! That is amazing! When can I try one?”

Before I tell you that, I need to give you the bad news…the machine is actually displaying a video simulation.


I know. I was disappointed, too. The machine that shows washing, peeling, cutting, cooking, salting, and bagging the potato you dropped into it actually just gives you a warmed regular bag of chips made at the factory. The point of this machine is to put rumors about Lay’s Potato Chips to rest — particularly the one that claims the chips aren’t made from real potatoes. They want people to know the chips are made of three ingredients only: potatoes, oil, and salt. That’s it.

And honestly, even though it’s just a video and not happening in real time, I think it’s a really great idea that will attract a lot of attention and praise. Especially because the machine actually warms the bag of Lay’s chips right before you get them, to give it the effect of being real. It’s just an awesome concept!

So when will you be able to check out one of these neat vending machines for yourself?

Well, unless you plan on taking a trip to Argentina in the near future, you’re going to have to wait a few years. The Pepsi Company is hoping to take this genius vending machine global at some point, but are waiting to see how well it does in South America. The first prototype cost about $40,000 to develop and the additional machines are estimated to cost between $20,000 and $30,000 each, so I’m pretty sure they are going to do some market research before mass production takes place.

This Lay’s vending machine makes its first public debut late October 2011, in a Buenos Aires supermarket. Will this machine be the answer Lay’s is looking for?

When this machine comes to a city near you, will you check it out? Have you experienced any other really cool vending machines like this? Give us your thoughts and comments below.

Image credit to espensorvik.


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  1. amy

    I WANT TO GO TO THERE!! This is such a cool concept Jen, unlike anything else I’ve ever seen! Sadly, I haven’t seen any vending machine that’s remotely as cool as this one 🙁 Unless you count the ones where you buy one bag of chips and another bag comes falling out too, those are awesome!!

    Love this post Jen!

    • Jen

      There is a vending machine in Italy that makes fresh pizza in three minutes! It mixes the dough and everything! I don’t know how they do it in such a short amount of time.

  2. Mandy Kilinskis

    I’m all for Lays dispelling rumors, but how long can they sustain something like this? I mean, they are technically giving away chips for free. Unless they are daily rounding up the potatoes and turning those into chips, how are they going to make a profit? It’ll be interesting to see if this convinces users to turn around and buy more chips.

    But yes. I would totally try this once it hits Chicago. 🙂

    • Jen

      I would assume they will have to start charging for the chips after a while.

      Another question, what do they do with the potatoes? Do they use them to make more chips?
      I guess that would be cool. But I hope they clean out the machine regularly so it doesn’t get smelly!

  3. Jill Tooley

    If you hadn’t mentioned this was a simulation, I would’ve thought it was real! You can tell they spent a lot of time and money developing this machine. I think it’s a fantastic idea and it’s going to get a ton of press if it takes off on a larger scale.

    This means we’ll probably start seeing more innovative vending machines now…I’m getting excited about the possibilities! They should make a drink machine that allows you to mix and match your sodas (just like from a fountain). Imagine getting a “suicide” drink from a vending machine…how cool would that be?

    Great post, Miss Pandas! 🙂

    • Jen

      How has that type of soda machine not been invented!?!?!

      Lets get on that bandwagon!!!

      We’ll make millions…from fourth graders…maybe not such a great idea after all. 🙂

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      At least they now have those drink machines in fast food places where you can customize your drink with tons of different flavors. I love making my Minute Lemonade into strawberry or cherry lemonade. 😀

      • Eric

        Here here for the 234,456,456-flavor Coca-Cola machine. The first time I came across one in a Wendy’s, I had my entertainment set for the evening. As someone who appreciates a good Vanilla coke, it allowed people with non-mainstream flavor preferences to have their favorites, too. Or we’d have to all tote-around grenadine. One or the other.

        No, they’re not productive. They can only pour one drink at a time, and you can’t even get ice without waiting behind the person pouring his drink.

        But they’re a really great piece of guerrilla advertising, because people will tell their friends, and soon enough, both the fast food restaurant and Coca-Cola will be doing better business because folks will be coming to see the machines.

        Trust me: the price they pay for free bags of potato chips will pale compared to their sales resulting from the word-of-mouth buzz from these machines.

  4. Amanda

    Awesome Awesome Awesome post Jen. =)

    I think this machine is soo cool! I wish one would come to Chicagoland so we could all try it out. I think it’s inventive, original, and fun! But I too, worry about if it will become widespread because of the costly price of the machine, and the fact that these chips are basically free. I wonder if instead of having an actual machine, they could just use that same video as a commercial. ?? I’m wondering, why people still don’t believe that there are only those 3 ingredients in potato chips. There are so many worse things out there to eat. I’ve made home chips at home, and that is all that goes in them. They’re not the same though—never thin and crispy enough of course, but I do trust that’s all that is in them. So I wonder why they have to keep trying to prove this to people….

  5. Rachel

    This is so cool! Bummer that it’s a video simulation, though. I suppose there would be some fire hazards to deal with if it were real, haha. I love that it warms the bag for you too!

    I’ve not seen any other fancy vending machines, as far as I can remember, though as Mandy pointed out, those newer soda fountains that let you mix flavors are pretty awesome. There’s one at the Five Guys in downtown Naperville. Coca Cola makes them:

  6. Sam

    Where in U.S.?

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