Press Clips: On the Bubble

Bubbles were the rule of the week when it came to press clips, as Welch’s CEO Brad Irwin took to CNBC to advocate for his company’s licensing deal with at-home carbonation provider SodaStream.

According to Irwin, the deal made sense because SodaStream — despite a series of sales numbers that have sent the company’s stock price tumbling — is nevertheless the leader of the category.

“They are the number one player,” Irwin told his network hosts. “We think the market’s going to grow and we’ve got a great partnership.”

As for the deal terms, the license Welch’s sold to SodaStream only covers carbonated products, Irwin said; other potential deals could be made for the juice company with disruptors in the still beverages category.

One company whose bubble may have burst, according to New York Times financial columnist James Stewart, is Coca-Cola. Following Coke’s own recent stock pains, Stewart turned to branding experts to try to determine how the company can right the ship.

Coke is facing an aging consumer base, according to consultant Martin Lindstrom, who pointed out that the average consumer of its core product is 56 and that parents are less likely to give their children sodas as a rule.

According to marketing guru Seth Godin, Coke needs to sell its story more than its famous recipe — an approach that might save the brand, he said, and they should try to “make something new” to excite consumers. Others interviewed by Stewart also pointed out what they perceive as the need for the company to innovate, although a Coke spokesman pointed to its Venturing and Emerging Brands group as an example of its diversification projects.

And here’s another sign that the 150-year-old company isn’t done searching for fresh tricks yet: its still-fresh investment in Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, and subsequent appointment of VEB president Deryck Van Rensburg to head up the resulting joint venture.

And  there’s the core strengths of the company, as well, said Bruce Greenwald, a professor at Columbia Business School. “It has incredible distribution and customer loyalty,” Greenwald told the Times. “Every once in a while, there’s a bad quarter and people panic.”