Case Study: Play with Coke!

Vending Machines, Gamification

Bust a Freestyle with Coke!

“Coke Freestyle lets you select your own unique flavor combinations from all of their brands, and enjoy Coke in a whole new way!”

In 2011, the Oxford Dictionary added ‘Gamification’ to its Word-of-the-Year short list. Coke-Cola saw this opportunity to bring its’ product up to the new customer standards and gamified!  Throughout the following year, Coke announced a fully interactive multimedia campaign that would let people enjoy Coke in a whole new way.  Now with the Coke Freestyle vending machine and mobile app, customers become “players” and are rewarded for their engagement.  Coca Cola is already known for being the #1 brand in the world, so why is it using Gamification?  Engaming decided to explore the choices made by the Coca Cola company and discover their reasons.

The Freestyle App

The iPhone Freestyle App engages people in a new way of experiencing their favorite beverage.  Claiming to have hundreds of beverage combinations, the Freestyle app allows people to simulate the experience of vending their favorite soda online and sharing it with others.The Facebook and mobile apps are linked to new Freestyle machines already found all over America, which Coke has made incredible easy to FIND.

Push + Play!

Coke Freestyle apps allows customers to “Push+Play” (a memory based game that creates a musical pattern for each of Coke’s brands that the player then has to replicate).  This helps highlight the 100+ options that Coke has included in the Freestyle, as well as get the customer used to the new machines interface in a fun and engaging way.

Gamified Elements

  • Encourage customers to learn the vending machine interface and find locations nearby
  • Builds an online social community through leaderboards and social media integration
  • Makes learning about Coke products fun
  • 22 engaging levels of musical memory
  • Builds a personal experience with the Coke

Customers Benefits:

  • Mobile apps are easy to install and use
  • Allows customers to promote scores through social media and engage friends
  • Entertaining and easy game to play
  • Enhances the users experience of buying a Coke
  • Provides a sense of Mastery, Accomplishment, and Challenge
  • Provides self-express through the product
  • Request a freestyle machine for your town!


To ensure Coke’s game is successful for the long run, it will have to continue to add new challenges, levels, and rewards. Coke could tie in its “Coke points”, that were in older bottle-cap campaigns, for instant customer value and to drive desired action. The app should also look to expand on Android. Finally, in a world full of “increasing engagement”, is Coke’s multi-element campaign asking for too much from the customer?


At this moment, The Coke Freestyle is already spreading all across America and is rising in popularity.  The Facebook and Mobile app have received good customer reviews, and are fun and easy to use. We predict that other brands will replicate features of Coke’s campaign, and the experience will improve even more with time.

The Coke Freestyle has differentiated Coke from other softdrinks, generated brand awareness, and gave the user a fun experience.  This is exactly what gamification is all about.

Did Coke get gamification right? Tweet, comment or e-mail us your thoughts!

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