Innovator Interviews: SodaStream’s Global CMO
SodaStream’s Global CMO Karin Schifter-Maor talks Snoop Dogg celebrity partnership, purposed-based messaging and how the company has expanded its direct to consumer business since the pandemic hit.
SodaStream is celebrating the holiday season with its largest global campaign to date. The effort taps into two key consumer trends of the year – cooking at home and looking for ways to be more sustainable.
The Israel-based consumer soda machine company, which was acquired by PepsiCo in 2018 for $3.2 billion, has partnered with rap and pop culture icon Snoop Dogg to deliver a holiday campaign message about enjoying “the small things” at home, while doing your part to support sustainability.
In the spot, Snoop sends a humorous holiday greeting to viewers while he dines at home, bakes cookies, builds life-size gingerbread houses and drinks home-made sparkling water with a nearly extinct sea turtle. Together they reveal that one Soda Stream bottle can save on consuming thousands of single use plastic bottles.
“Who's thinking small now?” Snoop asks as the tagline, “Small Bubbles, Big Impact,” flashes on the screen. “I just saved the planet,” he toasts as the spot ends.
This holiday message follows last year’s campaign in which Jonathan Van Ness of Netflix's "Queer Eye" starred in an ASMR parody video. Both of these celebrity efforts are part of the company’s mission to expand brand awareness to a wider, and often younger audience.
SodaStream has an opportunity to reach a wider audience this year as the pandemic-inspired cooking at home trend has increased consumer investment in home appliances. And additionally, consumers are also looking to invest more in sustainable products, with 45% of shoppers reporting they are more likely to make sustainable purchases since the pandemic hit, according to Accenture and Gen Z and millennial consumers are even more likely to make purchase decisions based on their values.
“People want to live their purpose more than ever. We see that with both social and environmental causes,” said SodaStream’s Global CMO Karin Schifter-Maor. “People’s ears are open to this message, which is delivered with Snoop coolness. We believe that we will only have a larger audience.”
What is the strategy behind the new campaign with Snoop Dogg?
There are two things here. The first thing is that when we started working on this campaign in June, we realized that this holiday season would be different. We really dived into understanding the consumers through research. An optimistic thing that we have seen is that, during these crazy times, people have really learned to appreciate the small things in their lives. They see how impactful these small moments can be for them. We decided to work with that insight for this holiday season. People won’t be able to throw big holiday parties or go abroad, they need to appreciate the small things. Then we thought about what celebrity, what person we wanted to partner with.
We chose Snoop Dogg for two reasons. First of all, nothing is small with Snoop. He is larger than life. He was a good person to collaborate with for this message in the SodaStream way, which is through humor and smiles. Secondly, we are a brand with a mission, we are a purposeful brand. Our purpose is to transform how the world drinks soda and to eliminate single-use plastic. We want to reach a larger audience and invite more people to embrace this lifestyle.
With Snoop, we wanted to create a platform where sustainability becomes cool and fun. People who might hesitate to make the switch and don’t see sustainability as part of their lifestyle will suddenly feel as though sustainability is cool. Who is better than Snoop to deliver this message to that audience? This was the strategy which brought us to the campaign.
What audience are you hoping to reach with this campaign?
We are targeting different demographics. Normally, we are marketing to Gen Y. When partnering with Snoop, we realize that he is adored by all of Gen Z and all of the world, as well. The way that partnering with Snoop serves our mission is through the idea that this generation is the change agent. Even though Gen Z are not our main consumers, their parents are. We have this generation, the teenagers, to help spread this statement. SodaStream is more than a product. It’s a statement about yourself and your values. This generation will help a lot with the big changes happening now.
Last year you worked with Jonathan Van Ness. Now you are working with Snoop Dogg. Why are celebrity influencers core to telling your brand story?
We always pick the best celebrity to deliver our message. It’s not just about the popularity of the person although that is important to reach a larger audience to join our movement. It’s also about connecting on a value-base with sustainability. With Snoop Dogg, we learned that he is a large spokesperson for sustainability, and an actual SodaStream user. He was very excited to partner with us, so that’s a win-win.
This year consumers are staying home, cooking more and investing more in home goods. What does this mean for SodaStream?
In general, we have seen that people around the world are more self-sufficient and really want to take control of their lives during this period. When staying at home, and now with the second-wave in Europe, people are looking to do their own things at home and be in control of that through resilience. SodaStream has been part of that. We’ve used that message in COVID, and we have grown a lot this year and extended our message.
One SodaStream is equivalent to 60 liters of sparkling water. You have all the water you want in the comfort of your home. Along with self-sufficiency, we’ve also seen an increased creativity in people. People are really getting creative in what they do with cooking in their kitchens, including mixology. People are making their own drinks. Whenever Snoop was interviewed, he talked about all the cocktails he makes with SodaStream. It’s really a combination of the holiday season, being at home, and the desire to add sparkle to your day and make your drinks more fun and tasty.
Did being acquired by PepsiCo. change your brand in any way?
Not at all. Our positioning has stayed the same. We have one big mission and we are still behind it. Pepsi bought SodaStream for that reason. They are very proud of our brand mission and what we do. The only thing that has changed is that we are growing so fast. We are moving from being a “rebellious teenager” to a “young adult.” We always stick to our statement of Changing the World.
I am sure we are going to keep growing very fast. We are introducing more innovations into the system. We have launched Bubly flavors in the U.S. and Pepsi flavors in Europe. We are offering our consumers sparkling water and the ability to add flavor with big brands at home. We see already that this is great especially when people are looking for more soda variety while at home.
I hope that we will have a vaccine very soon and all of this will be behind us, but I’m positive that we will see some of the strong trends from the pandemic stay with us. One of them is the sense of self-reliance that people have. This has a lot to do with what SodaStream offers at home.
Many brands have experienced digital acceleration this year. Is your ecommerce business also growing?
We have seen a tremendous growth on our SodaStream direct-to-consumer website. We had two big launches earlier than expected, in Germany and Austria. We also launched our DTC platform in France during this time. We want to be there when consumers need us. And if they don’t want to go outside or want it delivered to their homes, we need to cater to that. We have expanded our direct communication and direct service. During the lockdown, we also offered free shipping. Demand was super high and it was hard to keep up with it. We expanded all of our capabilities and factories and didn’t want to leave the consumers without the products they wanted.
We are continuing to grow. We are investing a lot on our DTC platform because this is how we communicate directly with our consumers. Lots of our new insights are based on this data which we get through our direct channel. We offer our consumers things which are specifically targeted to them and they really appreciate it. I think those two things will remain and impact our business in the future.
How are you using digital channels to market your DTC platform?
We are marketing across different channels and really trying to get the awareness out there and get a larger audience. We want our current users to be more excited about the brand. It’s across all channels. We see also with our retailers that their online platforms are growing stronger.
We are working a lot now with marketing and personalized emails more and more. We are increasing the amount of content that we have. As we talked before about mixology, there are different things you can do with kids, as well. We have DIY ideas for our bottles and we have cocktails for the parents, mocktails for the kids. We have increased the amount of content which we send to consumers and targeted that content specifically to what we see in their behavior.
This is where the Pepsi flavors and Bubly brand come into play. Our consumers love it. They love when they can really bubble their drinks. The Pepsi flavors are only in Europe right now, not in North America. But in the US, in January, we have the pre-launch of the Bubly flavors coming up.