Super Bowl ad review: Sodastream strategy falls flat

Sodastream wants people to buy one of its soft drink makers because it will help save the environment by eliminating lots of plastic bottles. Sounds nice, but will it sell the $80 machine? Doubtful. We’ve known for years that plastic bottles are an environmental disaster but that hasn’t affected the beverage industry in the least. Bottled water sales have steadily increased despite campaigns to sell $5 reusable bottles and to install fillers in offices and other places of business. This article points out that Americans are consuming more bottled water than ever. And this website notes that Americans use 2.5 million plastic bottles per hour. In short, nobody really gives a rat’s ass about eliminating plastic bottles.

That doesn’t necessarily mean Sodastream’s sales won’t increase. It’s a neat machine that plenty of people will want to sit next to the KitchenAid mixer and Keurig coffee maker to impress house guests. But had it been positioned using a deprivation strategy (think of the original Got Milk? campaign), I think its post-Super Bowl sales bump would have been outstanding. Instead of talking about environmental pollution, the spot should have shown someone needing to whip up a fresh drink in the kitchen to seal the deal after a hot date but coming up short because his week-old cola poured out like cough syrup and had no bubbles.

The Sodastream could be the hero in a great many situations when someone doesn’t have time to run to the store or vending machine or doesn’t want to because it’s cold or rainy or late or whatever other reason. People could readily identify with those scenarios. Who hasn’t cooked a pizza only to realize that the Coke you planned to wash it down with was completely flat?