The company whose beverage system turns tap water into sparkling soft drinks has been trying to brew up a social marketing coup this holiday season with a campaign that suggests it was decades of drinking Coca-Cola (KO) that gave Old Saint Nick that bowl-full-of-jelly belly.
SodaStream hopes to see the hashtag #GreenSanta go viral. Its tweets depict Santa going through a transformation that includes new eating habits and incorporating a workout regimen. Naturally, Green Santa has replaced Coke with SodaStream's healthier beverages.
You've seen the controversy that recently exploded after someone said Santa had to be white. Now let's see what happens when a fast-growing beverage platform suggests Santa shouldn't be so wide.
Ho Ho H2O
The world's largest soda maker and Santa go way back.
Earlier artist depictions of Santa featured him wearing various outfits until Coca-Cola's marketing department cast him in a red and white tunic. What? Did you think it was merely a coincidence that Coca-Cola and Santa are clad in the same colors?
Any kind of knock on the traditional Santa is a risky proposition. And so is knocking Coke. Even PepsiCo (PEP) has respected Coca-Cola's turf in the past, but SodaStream isn't as cordial. It's not afraid to gamble.
SodaStream has taken to Pinterest to post renderings of its healthier Santa, and used Twitter and Facebook to promote the Christmas icon embracing its product, which uses no high-fructose corn syrup and contains as little as one-third the sugar, carlories, and carbs of Coke or Pepsi.
Getting Cola in Your Stocking
SodaStream is taking a chance portraying Santa Classic as having an unhealthy lifestyle. But the company is being careful to avoid negative body image issues. Nobody wants to "fat shame" Santa: That wouldn't be smart, nor politically correct.
There's also the matter of convenience. Why lug store-bought soda around when you can make carbonated beverages at home?
However, SodaStream can make these points all year round. It's Christmastime. As long as folks don't get hung up in the idea of an Israeli company taking Santa to task for getting too many of his calories from sugary soda, there's little that it stands to lose here.
This isn't a high-profile campaign with huge ad spends. SodaStream already did that when it advertised during the Super Bowl earlier this year. Green Santa is a battle being waged in cyberspace without a lot of financial muscle involved.
No, the holidays are about giving. And Sodastream just wants to give Coke a hard time for having hijacked Santa for all of these years. Merry Christmas!
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.