How SodaStream Might Reverse Its Fortunes By Telling A New Story

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Yesterday the New York Times published an article about the challenges facing SodaStream, the “once-hot device for do-it-yourself sodas”. SodaStream, according to the article, has responded to reduced sales and profits by unveiling “a new line of fruit flavorings like pomegranate açaí, green tea lychee and yuzo mandarin”. The article also outlines the difficulty SodaStream has encountered convincing Americans to make traditional soda (i.e. soft drinks) at home.

So what’s going on here? It seems to me that SodaStream is diluting its brand by telling two very different stories to two very different groups. One one hand they offer an array of exotic, healthy-sounding and unpronounceable beverages aimed at the health-concious, New Age-ists, women, etc. At the same time they promise the working-class the seemingly-irresistable allure of essentially making Red Bull at home. The disparity between these two stories might be what is causing SodaStream’s sales to flag.

So what to do?

What if SodaStream stopped telling both these stories and committed to a new, third story? The story is simple: Slake your real craving: bubbles.

It wouldn’t be difficult to find ways to make Diet Coke drinkers, for example, aware that what their bodies really crave isn’t aspartame but bubbles. Trying to convince the Mountain Dew and Red Bull crowd to make soft drinks at home is waste of time because it isn’t worth their time.

As for the yoga crowd who wouldn’t touch a can of soda with a ten-foot pole, SodaStream can offer the opportunity to make the healthiest of all beverages even more enjoyable right in the privacy of their home, not to mention the opportunity to advertise their virtue right there in the corner of their kitchen.

There are several ways to tell this new story. By reminding everyone, for example, of the adverse affects of virtually all non-water beverages on healthy teeth, SodaStream might be able to position itself as the purveyor of something remarkable: a healthy beverage that not only fills you up but does not make you think about your next trip to the dentist.

In short, SodaStream should consider getting out of the water-flavoring and pseudo-soft drink business and shake their real moneymaker: the tantalizing possibility of a perfectly-healthy beverage which also makes you feel full.

Thoughts or comments? Leave them in the section below.

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I Have A Cold Again

I’ll be honest with you: I thought writing this blog would be easy. I am, after all, the “creative type” – just check my tax forms! But seriously, writing anything more than the bite-size comedy that has served me so well  has proven difficult. Newspaper headlines (Shark Braves Cuban-Infested Waters; Storm Leaves Millions Of Afghans With Electricity, Running Water) come to me so easily sometimes that I have to write them down just to get them out of my damn head. I’m like the proverbial antennae that way. Same with jokes about my marriage. When I tell audiences that using “air quotes” while exchanging wedding vows is not a good idea, believe me, I didn’t have to lock myself in a secluded cabin in order to come up with it.

It occurred to me to “live blog” something or other, such as a week without coffee. This idea excited me and quickly became, for practical reasons, a day without coffee. Then – again, for practical reasons – I scrapped the idea altogether.

As of about two years ago I began experiencing more colds. I figured myself as average in the cold department, maybe a little healthier than most. But now something’s definitely changed. Much of my mental life consists of staving off boredom and colds facilitate that. Having a cold was a novelty for me: “Oh, this is kind of neat. Man, that’s a lot of snot!” But now I’d say I’ve had one at least ten percent of the time over the last two years. That seems like a lot, doesn’t it? Also, they’re nastier than average. I’ve had more than one cold in the last two years that lasted over a month. I hope it’s nothing serious: God forbid I’m cold prone. 

It’s said that people with problems tend to accumulate more problems. That’s certainly been my experience. Last week I was driving my son to kindergarten and my nose began running terribly. So I closed one nostril shut with my index finger and inhaled as hard as I could. No sooner had I done so than I tweaked something inside my left shoulder blade. It was immediate and obvious: just like that I felt acute discomfort in this difficult-to-reach region.

Like I said, this was a week ago and I still have this knot in my lower shoulder. I think of it as a cold-related injury. My wife can feel it and when she massages it firmly it’s slightly nauseating. This morning I woke up early and leaned with my back to the wall and rolled up and down against a silicone juggling ball. It elicited the same feeling provoked by my wife, without, of course, the scathing criticism of my lifestyle.

I just googled “How to blow your nose”. Having read a couple of links and watched a couple of clips, I’ve gathered that it’s essential to blow one nostril at a time. So I wasn’t entirely off track. So important is this facet, in fact, that so far as I can glean, everything else is not worth mentioning. When it comes to the actual blowing, most experts also recommend  a “steady-as-she-goes” approach which does not fly well with my more shock-and-awe mindset. Part of me thinks that somewhere in me is a snot-producing tumor which can be expelled with sufficient force. I keep imagining that if I blow hard enough I’ll produce the culprit – in my mind it’s always the size and shape of a whole bulb of garlic for some reason – and the source of my sniffles will be gone for good.