Can the Super Bowl and Scarlett Johansson Refresh SodaStream?
Now, with weaker than expected revenue growth, SodaStream expects to barely break even in the fourth quarter.
The market's naturally down on SodaStream this week, but it's important to remember that its products are more popular than ever. The Israeli-based company still expects to grow its sales by 26 percent this quarter. It just has a few operating issues to address on the way down to the bottom line.
Thankfully it has a plan to bounce back -- a plan that involves Scarlett Johansson, SodaCaps, and the Super Bowl.
Scarlett is the New Red
Johansson was tapped as SodaStream's first-ever Global Brand Ambassador over the weekend, and the move came at a moment when the company could really use a vocal celebrity backer.
Let's face it: The stock hit a 52-week low after Monday's profit warning. The arrival on SodaStream's team of the celebrity whom Esquire magazine last year called "The Sexiest Woman Alive" can only help matters.
%VIRTUAL-article-sponsoredlinks%"I've been using the SodaStream products myself and giving them as gifts for many, many years," Johansson said in the press release announcing her new association with SodaStream. "The company's commitment to a healthier body and a healthier planet is a perfect fit for me. I love that the product can be tailored to any lifestyle and palate. The partnership between me and SodaStream is a no brainer."
Meanwhile, Back on the Football Field...
SodaStream turned heads last year with its first Super Bowl ad, and this year it's buying another spot, for a commercial it filmed last week -- starring Johansson, of course.
It's not likely to be as controversial as SodaStream's first shot at a Super Bowl commercial. The ad it originally submitted for airing last year was a parody of the old Coca-Cola (KO) and PepsiCo (PEP) ads in which delivery drivers for the two soda giants tried to upstage each other.
Three's a crowd, apparently: CBS decided to nix the spot since it attacked two of its most lucrative advertisers. It was just as well. The ban got SodaStream plenty of free publicity for the commercial, which has now topped 5 million views on YouTube.
It's unlikely that the company would film a commercial starring Johansson if they thought it wouldn't air, so this year, they've probably played it safe. The Super Bowl is the country's most watched televised event, and SodaStream wants to get noticed.
Details of the ad are being kept under wraps, but publicity stills show Johansson next to a SodaStream appliance, as well as the company's latest innovation: single-use SodaCaps.
SodaCaps are intended to attract SodaStream owners who are either casual users and don't need entire syrup bottles, or active users who usually prefer unflavored seltzer. Unlike the SodaStream syrup bottles, which offer several servings worth of a flavor, a SodaCaps capsule contains just enough syrup to flavor a single liter of carbonated water. They're simple. They're not messy. They're disposable.
Naturally, there's more money to be made by selling SodaCaps -- per serving -- than there is through the original flavor bottles. They also allow users a cheaper way to acquire a broad variety of flavors. Flavor sales actually declined in the U.S. in SodaStream's third quarter, and it doesn't seem as if the category did all that well in its latest quarter.
If SodaStream bounces back in 2014, SodaCaps will be a major factor in the revival.
SodaCaps, Johansson, and the Super Bowl will all come together on Feb. 2. We'll see if the combination adds some fizz to its flat share price.
Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz owns shares of SodaStream. The Motley Fool recommends Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and SodaStream. The Motley Fool owns shares of Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and SodaStream. Try any of our newsletter services free for 30 days.