Do you remember the SodaStream? If you were a child back in the '80s, you were either the envy of your friends if you had one or else you were looking longingly at it in your friend's house and pestering your parents for one. Well, it's back rebranded and looking a lot swankier than the plastic monstrosity which it once was.
If you have no idea what I'm talking about, the SodaStream is a carbonated drinks maker and, if memory serves, it was pretty hit and miss as to how successful the end product was. I seem to remember the cola being particularly vile. A bit like drinking very runny caramel, if you can imagine that, which left you with a brown furry tongue. The concept was pretty straightforward, though: fill up a special bottle with tap water, put it into its chamber, press the button five times to blast it full of bubbles (you'd know when enough was enough from the immensely amusing farting sound it made), add your chosen flavour Tizer being by far the best back then mix it around a bit and pour into a plastic tumbler with ice and a curly straw. The result: childhood summer heaven.
We probably still have ours somewhere lurking in the loft or the garage, and who knows, it may well be a collector's item one day. SodaStream have tried to revive the product a couple of times over the years with limited success and virtually no success in the UK if my friends' kitchens are anything to go by. But now, white and beige plastic has been replaced with a smarter brushed chrome effect, so it needn't sit under the sink any more; it can take pride of place beside your cappuccino machine (you know the spot, right next to the Aga). There's even a penguin-shaped one for all you wacky people who also like funky Alessi salt and pepper mills.
The process for making the drinks is pretty similar (if it ain't broke etc...) but I'd hoped that the flavours themselves would have moved on a bit more from the gloopy syrups of yesteryear. That said, in line with modern demands, it's not just cola any more, of course: there's the copycat Zero Cola and Diet Cola which even use the same packaging colours as Coke Zero and Diet Coke. Currently there are only a few fruit flavours (with sugar-free alternatives too) of the fairly safe orange, lemon and apple ilk, but if SodaStream takes off again, I fully expect them to ponce it up a bit more with elderflower and nettle or something before too long.
Watching the '80s commercial back again on YouTube, which you can enjoy by clicking here (my brother and I used to join in with the obvious but catchy tag line of œthat's fizzeeeeh! whenever it appeared), the market SodaStream seemed to be aiming for was children running back into the house after a sweaty game of rounders. But this time, as part of the rebranding process,SodaStream has tried to give it a sexy edge by offering a limited edition version only available at Harvey Nicks, designed by Karim Rashid. The target market has shifted somewhat to try and make it a bit more of an adult toy a useful accessory and talking point for a DIY cocktail party. Apparently even Heston Blumenthal used it once to make faux-Champagne. He didn't make it squirrel-flavoured, though, which is a bit disappointing.
Anyway, I'll be keen to see how the new version fares in today's market, particularly when MCBD, who successfully won the pitch to handle the advertising account in February of this year, parted company with SodaStream on the grounds of creative differences. The advertising work is now being done in-house, so hopefully they have indeed got busy with the fizzy in the right way this time. Bottoms up (maybe that's similar to what MCBD are now thinking, but rearranged and with an extra "your"...)
by Ashley Morrison
Ashley is a blogger, copywriter and editor