SodaStream to push health and wellness

SodaStream is to add a less controversial health and wellness message to its marketing to promote its low-sugar and calorie drinks, as it continues legal discussions with regulators over the ban of its controversial £11m SodaStream Effect ads in December.

SodaStream
SodaStream to push health and wellness with celebrity ambassador.

The drinks brand is in the process of signing a celebrity brand ambassador to front the push to highlight that its drinks products are up to 70 per cent lower in sugar and calories than comparable bottled soft drinks brands.

The marketing activity will be more educational and informative in tone than the controversial ads that were banned last year for “denigrating the soft drinks industry”.

SodaStream is currently considering legal action over Clearcast’s decision to ban its ad in the UK following an official appeal and maintains that the ruling was “incorrect” and the body “misapplied” its own rules.

“We’re not suggesting anything insidious is going on in the background, [such as pressure from soft drinks brands] but the people who approve ads are more sensitive to some of those other brands,” says Fiona Hope, UK managing director of SodaStream.

While Hope believes that the original SodaStream Effect message was “powerful” she admits that the controversy surrounding the ads has raised the profile of the campaign because a lot of people are “getting indignant on our behalf”.

Sales have also seen a positive impact of the publicity but Hope is quick not to credit the sales to the controversy alone. SodaStream does not split out UK sales but she says the brand “is in a good place commercially” after good performance in the final quarter of the year.

She says: “I wouldn’t say that the publicity around the banned ad has given us a [sales] boost, the [SodaStream Effect ad] copy we wanted to air is very powerful and would have been successful, but undoubtedly the publicity has got the brand and the brand message out there in a big way, and maybe in a bigger way than if the ad had aired anyway.”

SodaStream will continue to highlight the message families can save up to 1,000 bottles a year by using SodaStream in future ads but whether it will be through the SodaStream Effect creative or another execution will be decided by the outcome of the ongoing legal discussions with Clearcast and regulators, says Hope.

It is hoped the issue will be resolved within a few months.

The brand has also courted controversy in the US and an ad planned to air during the Super Bowl was banned for its direct portrayal of rivals Coca Cola and Pepsi, which are sponsors of the sports event. The ad was pulled by Super Bowl broadcaster CBS but is airing on other stations and has achieved 4.1 million views on YouTube.

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