SodaStream Bubbles Up Digital, Out-Of-Home Activations

SodaSSodaStream, a manufacturer of home carbonators, is letting some fizz out of its mass media activations to focus on increasing reach and frequency across digital and out-of-home.

SodaStream is repositioning from its reputation as purely a soda maker to a company that supplies naturally flavored and low-calorie drink mixes and products like its new Power Sparkling Water Maker.

Not everyone has heard of SodaStream, “so awareness is always part of our goal,” said Itai Bichler, SodaStream’s global digital marketing manager.

“You can’t just do a hard sale [even to people who have demonstrated an interest in soda water, for example], so we quantitate KPIs for both sales and channel behavior to reflect the phases of awareness and consideration.”

The brand is investing $2.75 million in an outdoor media campaign called “City Blitz,” including branded buses, billboards and sampling events. It will be supported by display, video and rich media placements, which will run through mid-August.

SodaStream faced some challenges with tentpole TV events in the past – most notably in placing ads during the Super Bowl. 

CBS pulled an ad in 2013 because it was too antagonistic to sponsors Pepsi and Coca-Cola. And a 2014 TV ad featuring Scarlett Johansson ignited controversy when a humanitarian organization she represented decried her ambassadorship for a brand that housed a factory in the West Bank.

SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum has publicly disavowed the relevance of mass advertising for his brand, spurring new mixes in media types.

“You can’t just do TV,” Bichler told AdExchanger. “You have to be present on YouTube and Facebook, because video is everywhere – mobile, desktop, tablet. We want as many people in the cities we are targeting to be exposed to our campaign, and use digital to amplify what they see out of home to increase our reach and frequency.”

Though SodaStream has invested in outdoor media like billboards and live installations in the past, Bichler said the brand wanted to get more targeted in its approach. He noted it’s the first time the brand has upped the ante in volume and density of targets in select regions – San Francisco, New York and Seattle – cities where it has a high concentration of purchasers.

SodaStream’s key demographic target is men and women over the age of 25, mostly parents and individuals who are married.

Since its launch of the SodaStream Power Sparkling Water Maker in June, the company has been considering more psychographic attributes such as “early adopters” and “environmentally conscious consumers.” This matched City Blitz’s geographic focus on urban centers with green tendencies, like Seattle, and cultural hubs like New York and San Francisco.

“In terms of data, we have done focus groups with users/non-users across the US to understand their needs and motivations as they relate to emotional/functional benefits,” Bichler noted. “We also have Ipsos brand tracker data, which helps us identify and optimize against our target.”

Like most manufacturers, a lion’s share of SodaStream’s business comes from third-party retail partners like Bed, Bath & Beyond and Costco, so its direct-to-consumer channel is not as robust as standard retailers. soda

“Our closest friends and allies are the retailers, so our first priority is to work with them and do a joint effort to promote traffic to them,” said Yehoyada Mande’el, SodaStream’s global head of ecommerce. “However, our online channel still serves the needs of consumers who wish to go straight to the manufacturer, where they can choose from a larger variety of products than most of our retailers hold.”

To tally campaign performance, Bichler said SodaStream will evaluate sales lift in the three key cities where City Blitz has legs. It will weigh the impact on purchase intent, consideration and brand health metrics through pre- and post-campaign reporting, and measure how online sales reflect consideration in other channels.

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