Pepsi’s Snackbot Makes Its Super Bowl Debut

Jets’ safety Jamal Adams chaperoned the robot, which distributed snacks to sportscasters preparing for the game

Pepsi's autonomous delivery vehicle is expanding its horizons. Pepsi
Headshot of Lisa Lacy

New York Jets Safety and 2019 Pro Bowl MVP Jamal Adams joined PepsiCo’s new Snackbot delivery robot in Atlanta on Thursday morning to distribute drinks and the chips showcased in Doritos’ 2019 spot to Super Bowl sportscasters on Radio Row at the Georgia World Congress Center.

The six-wheeled Super Bowl Snackbot has a new on-brand look with plenty of blue, red and white. (Its predecessor, the Snackbot at the University of the Pacific, is wrapped instead with messaging from Hello Goodness, PepsiCo’s line of healthier drinks and snacks. Both have flags, though.)

Among the sportscasters to interact with Adams and Snackbot were NFL Radio’s Brady Quinn, CBS’ Boomer Esiason, ESPN’s Stephen Smith and Fox Sports Radio’s Doug Gottlieb.

A rep said Snackbot will “continue to drum up excitement throughout the week as it cheers on players and fans in Atlanta,” including appearances at the Pepsi Rookie of the Year brunch and the Pepsi Party, as well as a return to Radio Row. No word on whether we’ll see more of Adams, but if this map based on geo-tagged Twitter data from an online betting site (where you can even bet on the length of Gladys Knight’s national anthem) is accurate, 70 percent of the U.S. will be cheering for the Rams and has likely forgiven him for tackling Patriots’ mascot Pat during the recent Pro Bowl.

And, similar to Uber offering free rides to fans of the losing team, Pepsi has partnered with in-car commerce platform Cargo for activations in Atlanta, Boston and LA, including free Super Bowl cans for riders.

This, of course, comes after Pepsi revealed its star-studded 2019 Super Bowl spot and trolled hometown hero Coca-Cola with an out-of-home campaign touting its sponsorship.

This is not likely the last we’ll see of autonomous delivery, big and small.

Pepsi’s self-driving robot, which is manufactured by robotics company Robby Technologies, made its debut in California just about a month ago to deliver snacks and drinks from brands like Bubly, which, coincidentally, is making its Super Bowl debut this year.

Pepsi’s initial deployment was followed quickly by an announcement from autonomous delivery service Starship, which partnered with food and facilities management company Sodexo to bring 25 autonomous delivery robots to George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. They will deliver food from Blaze Pizza, Starbucks and Dunkin’ to start—and purchases are integrated with the school’s meal plans.

Other companies testing comparably sized delivery robots include Amazon’s Scout in Seattle and Postmates’ Serve in LA. And then there are the trials of street-legal autonomous vehicles, including Stop & Shop and Robomart in Boston, Kroger and Nuro in Arizona, Walmart and Ford in Florida and DoorDash and Cruise in San Francisco.

@lisalacy Lisa Lacy is a senior writer at Adweek, where she focuses on retail and the growing reach of Amazon.