SodaStream Lands a New Campaign

SodaStream shows that plastic is drastic in its latest marketing strategy.

Apr 9, 2014 at 9:02AM

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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Rick Munarriz owns shares of SodaStream. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and SodaStream and has the following options: long January 2016 $37 calls on Coca-Cola and short January 2016 $37 puts on Coca-Cola. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

A Financial Plan on an Index Card

Keeping it simple.

Aug 7, 2015 at 11:26AM

Two years ago, University of Chicago professor Harold Pollack wrote his entire financial plan on an index card.

It blew up. People loved the idea. Financial advice is often intentionally complicated. Obscurity lets advisors charge higher fees. But the most important parts are painfully simple. Here's how Pollack put it:

The card came out of chat I had regarding what I view as the financial industry's basic dilemma: The best investment advice fits on an index card. A commenter asked for the actual index card. Although I was originally speaking in metaphor, I grabbed a pen and one of my daughter's note cards, scribbled this out in maybe three minutes, snapped a picture with my iPhone, and the rest was history.

More advisors and investors caught onto the idea and started writing their own financial plans on a single index card.

I love the exercise, because it makes you think about what's important and forces you to be succinct.

So, here's my index-card financial plan:


Everything else is details. 

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