Shares of SodaStream (NASDAQ:SODA) have fallen out of favor these days, but you can't say that the company behind the namesake beverage makers has lost its sense of humor. SodaStream pulled off one of the quieter April Fools' Day pranks on Friday.
SodaStream enlisted Thor Bjornson -- best known as The Mountain on Games of Thrones -- to produce a fake commercial for a workout product called Heavy Bubbles. The barbell-shaped Heavy Bubbles bottles of sparkling water are ultimately called out for their anti-environmental ways.
It's an odd marketing ploy, but it does find SodaStream having a little fun on April Fools' Day while also getting its marketing message across.
- SodaStream set up traveling exhibits consisting of huge cages filled with thousands of cans and bottles, illustrating the amount of waste that canned or bottled pop generates for a typical family over the course of an entire year.
- Its proposed and ultimately banned 2013 Super Bowl ad took a jab at soda giants Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, generating millions of views on YouTube.
- It recruited Scarlett Johansson for its sultry 2014 ad, initially rejected until it did away with Johansson taking a parting shot at the cola giants by saying "sorry Coke and Pepsi" at the end.
- A couple of months after that it rolled out a parody website for The Secret Continent, calling out the sums of cans and bottles that have amassed at what is being called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
The difference between SodaStream now and SodaStream when it launched each of those four previous campaigns is that it was still growing before. The company behind the once trendy beverage makers that crank out sparkling water and carbonated soft drinks has fallen on hard time.
Revenue for its latest quarter fell 11% below the prior year's holiday quarter. Adjusted earnings fell even harder. Sales have started to recover in Western Europe -- an important turf for SodaStream since it's where it generates more than half of its revenue -- but it's still sliding in the once promising U.S. market. SodaStream is still seeing a global uptick in CO2 canisters, but flavors and starter kits continue to fade in popularity. That's a problem, and that's why every new marketing campaign bears watching. Even if it seems to start as an amusing April Fools' Day joke, SodaStream is back to attacking Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, and that was often a catalyst for growth in the past.