SodaStream plots UK TV advertising return

SodaStream has announced plans to return to advertising during the Superbowl in the US alongside a possible UK TV comeback, a year after it was forced to pull a TV ad which was slammed by broadcast clearance body ClearCast as “denigrating” to the soft drinks market.

SodaStream Play
The SodaStream Play range

A global campaign will launch on 2 February, promising an “unforgettable viewer experience”, encouraging consumers to enjoy a “smarter, better for you alternative to packaged soda”.

SodaStream also plans to air the ad in the UK, but is cautious of ClearCast’s decision to ban 2013’s “The SodaStream Effect” spot from broadcast after deeming it “denigrating to the bottled drinks market” because it inferred choosing SodaStream over other products could help the environment. That decision means the company will explore options across multiple platforms beyond focusing the majority of its budget on mainstream TV, such as digital and print. 

Last year, following ClearCast’s cancellation of its campaign, SodaStream devised a new TV spot directing viewers to the original ad on YouTube. The video has amassed more than 3.9 million views since it was uploaded last year. 

Speaking to Marketing Week, SodaStream UK managing director Fiona Hope said 2014 is “too important a year” for the brand to eschew TV advertising as it gears up to deliver on its strategy to generate $1bn in global revenue by 2015. In its third quarter to 30 September, Sodastream increased revenue by 28.5 per cent to $112.5m.

Hope added: “Because the ClearCast decision last year was not around applying the code correctly or incorrectly – and we are always extremely mindful of what the rules are – it can be a big ambiguous if we put stuff in as to whether it will still be rejected. We can’t take that chance as this year is too important for us. Our creative has a lot of integrity and has an important point to make, we’re not trying to score points…but we are looking to be provocative as we are hoping to disrupt the entire industry and encourage consumers to be more conscious in their choices.”

It is likely communications will move on from being sustainability focused like last year’s banned ad and will instead highlight SodaStream’s health and wellbeing benefits, something Hope said the brand “does not shout about loudly enough”. Creative for the TV ad, which is being developed in the US, has not yet been finalised.

A number of new products are due to retail next year to help SodaStream achieve its 2015 goal, including a new Apple-inspired machine called Play available in a variety of colours and designed by the creator of Jawbone and Jambox and a coffee-machine like dispensing innovation called Soda Caps. SodaStream today (12 November) announced a brand partnership with Del Monte, to produce a range of branded syrups – in Tropical, Caribbean and Orange flavours – to debut in retail in Italy and the UK next summer.

Hope said SodaStream’s biggest marketing challenge in 2014 will be making consumers understand why the brand is still relevant now, more than 30 years after it first launched in the UK in 1983.

Prompted brand awareness is at 90 per cent and 10 per cent of households claim to own a SodaStream machine Hope said, but she hopes marketing activity will make SodaStream owners more active and that TV in particular will boost spontaneous brand awareness.

Hope said: “I don’t think there’s enough genuine innovation in the soft drinks market – it’s limited by packaging and so on. That arena is where we thrive because we are really fast in our innovation, be it flavours, or a dispensing innovation with Soda Caps, or our new machine Play.

“There’s also a macro trend in the world at the moment about making stuff yourself, be it your own playlist or making cupcakes and SodaStream plays into that trend with genuine innovation. [We think our marketing next year] will really engage people with the category.”

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Seb Joseph

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