- SodaStream, the seltzer machine maker owned by PepsiCo, appointed its first U.S. CMO, according to an announcement shared with Marketing Dive.
- Matt Kahn, a veteran marketer of 25 years, is tasked with growing Israel-based SodaStream's market penetration in the U.S. by attracting new customers and growing usage among existing ones. He will also amplify the company's message of sustainability, which aims to transform consumer and corporate habits regarding plastic waste.
- Kahn has prior experience at a number of beverage marketers, including Coca-Cola, Heineken and, most recently, energy drink owner Celsius Holdings. Kahn directly contributed to Coke's $4.2 billion takeover of Vitaminwater maker Glacéau, where he previously worked. He also helped to develop memorable creative as VP of marketing at Heineken, such as Dos Equis' award-winning "The Most Interesting Man in the World" campaign.
SodaStream is hiring its first U.S. CMO to capitalize on several growing trends in the market. Seltzer continues to gain traction among consumers, particularly younger demographics like millennials who are seeking healthier, less sugary alternatives to soda. At the same time, cause-oriented groups like millennials and Gen Z are putting greater pressure on corporations to reduce plastic waste and direct more of their resources to supporting sustainability initiatives.
With Kahn, who was cited for his track record of both successful deal-making and impactful creative, SodaStream aims to better key into these audiences and become a billion-dollar brand in the U.S. The executive has worked on a string of successful endorsement deals, notably NBA star LeBron James' partnership with Coke brands Sprite and Powerade. Big celebrity ambassadors have been a key part of SodaStream's marketing in the past.
PepsiCo acquired SodaStream for $3.2 billion in 2018. The deal raised a few eyebrows at the time given that a central focus of SodaStream's marketing had been calling out major beverage conglomerates like PepsiCo for their contributions to plastic waste. Since then, reusable packaging has been embraced by a growing number of consumer packaged goods marketers, although those efforts mostly remain small scale.
Today, companies like PepsiCo are feeling even greater pressure to reduce their single-use plastics as environmental issues worsen. PepsiCo enacted a Beyond the Bottle strategy, which SodaStream is a central part of, to support waste reduction. Last year, the beverage giant set a target of reducing virgin plastic content across its beverage portfolio by 35% in the next five years. Several of the company's labels, such as Lifewtr, Aquafina and Bubly, another seltzer line, have recently retooled their packaging composition to focus more on recycled materials.
Even as calls for sustainability in marketing grow, crafting authentic campaigns and corporate initiatives could be getting more challenging. In the U.K., for example, 64% of consumers name plastic pollution as their No. 1 environmental concern, according to a GlobalWebIndex survey reported in The Drum. But nearly half (49%) of respondents think climate pledges by large brands are simply lip service.