SodaStream (NASDAQ:SODA) is cashing in on a banned Super Bowl ad again.
The company behind the popular maker of carbonated beverages has uploaded the Scarlett Johansson commercial that was rejected by Fox to YouTube on Monday. It's already a viral hit, closing in on 2 million views as of last night.
Those expecting something saucy out of the "uncensored" ad may feel disappointed. The difference between the banned spot and the one that will ultimately air on Sunday comes down to four words: "Sorry, Coke and Pepsi."
Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) and PepsiCo (NASDAQ:PEP) probably don't like being called out by name, though it's widely believed that Fox made the call without being pressured by the two beverage giants. They probably didn't have to make any potential displeasure known. Fox clearly generates more ad revenue from Coca-Cola and PepsiCo throughout the year than what it gets from SodaStream.
Besides, SodaStream is getting what it wants. It signed up Johansson as its first global brand ambassador earlier this month to draw attention, and that's exactly what it's getting. It's relishing the moment, even to the point of using the four words that will be stricken from the Super Bowl ad as a trending hashtag on Twitter and the name of the YouTube video.
SodaStream is going to need the boost. The stock hit a 52-week low earlier this month after warning that it will fall short of its original holiday quarter projections. Top-line growth is decelerating, and margins are getting squeezed. It's not a pretty picture, but that's where Johansson's ad comes in.
One thing you 'll notice in the spot is that the signature syrup bottles are nowhere to be found. Johannson is using the single-serve SodaStream Caps to fuel her carbonated beverage. This is a flavor solution that SodaStream officially introduced into this country just two months ago. There may be nothing inherently wrong with the syrup bottles that flavor up several liters of seltzer, but Caps are cleaner, easier, and more in tune with what consumers associate with single-serve premium beverage platforms.
Johansson's ad may draw buzz as a result of its being banned or her sultry antics with a soda straw, but its biggest success may be to draw attention to the single-sever flavor packets, which should generate more revenue for SodaStream. That would be one way to turn "Sorry, Coke and Pepsi" into an apology for those shorting the stock.