- Coca-Cola is testing out a new kind of water fountain on the campus of Georgia Tech next week, according to just-drinks.com. ‘PureFill’, which is made to be used with students' reusable bottles, will offer free Dasani-branded water and charge for carbonation or a punch of flavor.
- A number of these water fountains will be available to students on campus. Each machine will be accessible with an app that tells the student how to get to the closest PureFill.
- "Young people, especially college students, always have two things with them throughout the day - a water bottle and a smartphone," Jeffrey Busch, director of equipment commercialization for Coca-Cola North America, told the beverage publication. "We're trying to dial in to those habits and add value to a water brand they know and love with a unique solution for on-the-go hydration."
The water fountain is getting an upgrade. Coca-Cola came up with the concept for the PureFill during a sustainability forum held by Coca-Cola North America’s research and development team last summer. If the goal is to get college students to buy the beverage company's products outside of the cafeteria, this could be a terrific way to entice them.
One might wonder if Coke will damage its Dasani brand by giving the product away for free. In this case, students will buy the water because they want it to have bubbles or fun flavors. It also improves Dasani's image by offering consumers a free, healthy drink. Considering flat soda sales that have impacted Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, and the push-back against sugary drinks at many college campuses, this could be just the public relations facelift Coke needs in a school setting.
Coke is likely offering carbonation and two flavors (berry and peach-ginger) for the same reason LaCroix is thriving. Consumers want flavored sparkling water, and they’re willing to pay for it. There is no word from Coca-Cola on what they will be charging for the upgrades at the PureFill fountains, but it will probably be within students' limited budgets.
The ability to customize and upgrade their water with the swipe of a credit card makes this an attractive draw for millennials, who are fond of being able to make their food or drink unique to them. In addition, being able to locate these PureFill stations on an app tested well with millennial consumers.
If PureFill succeeds at Georgia Tech, look for these machines to start popping up on campuses nationwide. In addition, this could be a welcome healthy addition to office break rooms, entertainment venues, airports and beyond.