Since its IPO in 2010, there has been debate over whether
SodaStream International Ltd.
) is the next big thing in the beverage industry, or just a niche
product. Analyst opinion aside, a new full-page, color print ad by
SodaStream in today's
shows the company is confident that it's in direct competition with
The Coca-Cola Company
Take a look for yourself:
The labels on the products in the ad may lack the iconic
"Coca-Cola" label, but the familiar red color does little to veil
SodaStream's pointed insult; the two flavoring syrups shown at the
bottom righthand corner of the ad subtly happen to reflect Pepsi's
colors. The message is clear: The age of store-bought and
waste-producing soda is nearing its end.
This aggressive campaigning against the major soda producers is
nothing new to SodaStream. The company's "Game Changer" commercial
was prohibited from airing on
) during the Super Bowl for being too forward in its attack,
forcing it to run an
alternative, less direct ad
. The original ad -- which was banned on other major networks
including NBC and ABC, who would only air the version that doesn't
specifically feature Coke and Pepsi -- can be seen below.
The image of Pepsi and Coke bottles exploding as delivery men race
to deliver them doesn't really seem all that unacceptable, but Alex
Bogusky, the creator of the ad, speculated that Pepsi's role as
sponsor of Super Bowl XLVII's Half Time Show could very well have
been a factor in preventing the commercial from airing.
"Soda Stream has the right to show competitors, so I wonder why
this Superbowl spot was rejected? Pepsi half-time show?" tweeted
As a less widely recognized company, SodaStream will certainly
struggle to gain the the big sponsorships necessary to establish
long-lasting relationships with major networks and organizations.
It did, however, take Coca-Cola's place as the sponsor of the
American Pavilion at the Cannes Film Festival this May.
SodaStream's ad claims that each of its units results in 2,000
fewer plastic bottles being used by the average family in one year.
The ad does not specify the specific country used by the source to
attain this number, but we've contacted SodaStream asking for
clarification and await its response. Meanwhile, SodaStream also
The Carbon Trust
to measure its carbon footprint throughout the lifecycle of its
product. That study showed that SodaStream's footprint was 75%
smaller than those of its competitors in the beverage aisle. The
company has been equally aggressive in marketing this benefit, all
the while criticizing the current kings of the beverage industry.
In an ad run in Belgium, done as part of a partnership between
SodaStream and 5 Gyres, an environmental activist group, a man who
appears to be a prominent federal minister delivers a speech
slamming the use of plastic and announcing an increased tax on the
troublesome material. You can see for yourself, however, that not
everything is exactly as it seems (subtitles can be turned on via
the 'CC' button):
The green angle to SodaStream's positioning could potentially
provide for key partnerships going forward as environmental
activism continues to be a pertinent issue. The additional exposure
that comes as a result of such alliances could be critical for a
company like SodaStream, whose product has a bit of a learning
curve for the average consumer.
The process of creating at-home beverages is not, in itself,
complicated. But the steps of purchasing the soda maker, a reusable
bottle, a canister of carbon dioxide (that must be replaced
periodically), and syrup are a far cry from stopping by the store
for a 24-pack of Pepsi or Coke.
Pitting itself against market leaders is a start for SodaStream,
but if its numbers fail to back up the bravado, there's not much
hope for a market shake-up. In respective first quarter reports,
Coke saw net revenue decline by 1%, Pepsi's organic revenue grew by
4.4%, and SodaStream's total revenue increased 33.9%. Pepsi and
Coke are far more established companies, of course, and the
SodaStream brand is just beginning to gain traction, but its growth
figures are still attractive.
Swirling rumors of Pepsi's plans to acquire the aspiring competitor
for $2 billion saw SodaStream stock surge 30% pre-market on June 6.
When Pepsi swiftly put this gossip to rest, SodaStream's 30% jump
was cut to a 4.5% gain with two hours still remaining before the
With an acquisition off the table for now, SodaStream is left to
continue its efforts to acquire new supporters and will almost
certainly go on striking Big Soda where it hurts.