Challenge: By now you know what SodaStream is—maybe you even have one on your counter. But back in 2012 the company was unknown and struggling to figure out how a small newcomer could position itself for traction against an entrenched U.S. soda category.
Story: To help the team sidestep stagnant thinking patterns and roadblocks, we led a Blitz with CEO Daniel Birnbaum and a few of his top execs. At first, the talk was all serious business. But eventually something more interesting began to take hold.
We had brought along Fine Artist Tucker Nichols as an outsider. We’ve found it can be helpful to have a non-invested party in the room whose job is to listen, capture, and interpret the themes of the discussion. Tucker’s off-the-cuff drawings added clarity and much needed inspiration to the summit.
Pulling from phrases and ideas he heard, Tucker soon had a wall covered with whimsical illustrations of bubbles and various expressions of freedom.
Taking it in, the team realized the power of their own collaborative idea, and came together around an evolutionary shift in the company’s direction.
After the Blitz, SodaStream took their “Free the Bubbles” idea and made a 60-second Super Bowl ad that would cause a much longer-lasting sensation.
Outcome: In case you slept through 2013, the ad positioned SodaStream as the way of the future, and big soda as the landfill-clogging, plastic-wasting relic of the past.
Coke and Pepsi delivery trucks race to the grocery store to the tune of dueling banjos. Suddenly, the plastic bottles inside begin exploding in spectacular bursts of sugary water. The ad cuts to a man making soda at home with a SodaStream as a voice deadpans, “We could have saved 500 million bottles on Game Day alone. If you love the bubbles, set them free.”
Banned on TV networks (for fear of insulting the soda companies), the ad got millions of YouTube views and free PR from outlets from the Huffington Post to the New Yorker.
SodaStream freed their thinking and freed the bubbles. And it worked.