Coca-Cola is launching a vending machine subscription service in Japan in the hopes of reviving sales at the ubiquitous, but forgotten, drink dispensers. The machines have been a common sight in the country for over a hundred years, offering everything from snacks and toys to pet food and beer. Even if you've never visited Japan, you may have encountered them on the Yakuza or Shenmue games. However, the pandemic has pummeled vending machine sales by over 35 percent as people were forced indoors and away from crowded city centers.
In a bid to lure back customers, Nikkei reports that Coca-Cola is readying a subscription option via its Coke On smartphone app that lets you grab one drink per day for 2,700 yen ($25) per month from 340,000 vending machines. That's a lot of carbonated sugar water for one person, but Coke does offer other drinks in Japan including unsweetened tea and black coffee, according to Kotaku. The new "Coke On Pass" service launches in May with a promotional offer of 1,350 yen ($12.40) to get more people using the app, which had 25 million downloads as of January.