SodaStream (NASDAQ: SODA ) has come under attack lately, but it's starting to fight back. The global leader of at-home carbonation is rolling out a new marketing campaign, taking aim at a familiar foe.
The Secret Continent is a new campaign, complete with a dedicated website, a naming contest, and a commercial. It's an approach that may require a bit more elaboration than your typical themed promo, but there is a payoff here. The new strategy centers around the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. It's real. Billions of plastic bottles have gathered in the Pacific Ocean in a formation that is reportedly twice the size of Texas. SodaStream's "Secret Continent" is a tongue-in-cheek attempt to get the mass recognized as the world's eighth continent.
The related video plays up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch -- also known as the Pacific trash vortex -- as a vacation destination. It's hokey, but it sends another zinger to the waste-producing ways of cola giants Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO ) and PepsiCo (NYSE: PEP ) .
SodaStream has made Coca-Cola and PepsiCo targets of its two Super Bowl commercials. The first ad featuring dueling Coke and Pepsi drivers got banned, and the second one had Scarlett Johansson's "Sorry, Coke and Pepsi" censored. Taking shots at the kings of cola was a popular sport long before the big game. SodaStream sent dozens of cages -- filled with the roughly 10,657 bottles and cans that a typical family goes through in five years -- around the world as eco exhibits. Coca-Cola even threatened litigation in South Africa, ultimately drawing more attention to the strategy.
There are several benefits to SodaStream's platform over conventional canned and bottled soft drinks. SodaStream can lean on the convenience of customers not having to lug around store-bought soda. There's also the nutritional benefits of SodaStream's product over Coke and Pepsi. Value is another arrow in SodaStream's quiver, though that one is iffy if we compare the price of SodaStream creations to equally cheap store brands. The fourth and final advantage is SodaStream's eco-friendly bent, and that's the gift that keeps on giving.
There's no shortage of environmentally conscious soda sippers, and it's easy to take shots at what the popularity of Coke and Pepsi products has done to landfills and apparently a growing mass in the Pacific. This may be a more elaborate campaign than SodaStream's typical marketing fare, but it should still hit the mark at a time when SodaStream's stock could use a vacation of its own after it's fallen sharply for three consecutive quarters. The Secret Continent may be the catalyst to a not-so-secret stock turnaround.
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