SodaStream Has a Trick Play in Its Playbook


SodaStream's stock closed above $40 yesterday.

That's the first time that investors have seen that in nearly three months, which coincidentally is when the NFL season was just getting started.

Why is that gridiron reference relevant? Well, SodaStream is announcing this morning that it will advertise in February's Super Bowl XLVII.

The move makes sense. The NFL championship is the most watched televised event of the year, and it's probably the only time that advertisements collectively draw attention.

The ad won't come cheap. Last year's Super Bowl commanded an average rate of $3.5 million for a 30-second commercial, and CBS is reportedly eyeing a base rate of $4 million for the Feb. 3 game. SodaStream spending more or less than that will largely depend on when the ad airs within the broadcast.

It's a smart move for SodaStream. The beverage system maker introduced its first global television commercial last month, and a revised version of the spot will be what airs during the big game.

The SodaStream Effect ad with its environmental message turned heads when U.K. regulators refused to air the commercial, arguing that it is denigrating to traditional soda companies. It's probably the tamest of the banned commercials you will ever see, but having hundreds of plastic bottles explode whenever a SodaStream fizzes up still water was apparently too hardcore for the censors across the pond.

The free publicity has helped generate even more interest in the ad, and the clip itself has now logged more than 1.2 million views on YouTube.

For a consumer-facing company with a revolutionary product, there is no stage better than the Super Bowl to make your point. The only thing that could make this any better would be a little controversy, so let's stir that up. Coca-Cola and PepsiCo are major Super Bowl advertisers through their namesake soda lines. PepsiCo's Doritos is always good for a few spots every year.

How are Coca-Cola and PepsiCo going to feel when SodaStream wiggles in with an ad that touches on the environmental waste of consuming soft drinks in sodas or cans? Will they object? Coca-Cola and SodaStream have butted heads before when it comes to SodaStream's marketing tactics.

SodaStream is once again in a sweet win-win position. If the ad airs, the benefits of SodaStream's products will broadcast into nearly 100 million homes on Super Bowl Sunday. If there is any kind of public bellyaching by Coca-Cola or PepsiCo, bullying the tiny SodaStream will generate even more free publicity.

Well played, SodaStream.

Drink up
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Aristotle Munarriz owns shares of SodaStream. The Motley Fool owns shares of PepsiCo and SodaStream. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend The Coca-Cola Company, PepsiCo, and SodaStream. 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.

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