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Michael Bublé on how an SNL parody became an unlikely 'marketing tool' as Pepsi came calling

Brooke DiPalma
·Associate Producer
·2 min read
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What started out as a sketch on SNL back in 2013, turned out to be a key marketing tool for Canadian singer Michael Bublé.

The parody on the pronunciation of his last name, [pronounced boo-BLAY], would eventually land him an ongoing partnership with soda giant Pepsico (PEP).

“I knew from doing Saturday Night Live with Jon Hamm that [the wrong pronunciation] was funny and it's funny in many other countries,” the musician told Yahoo Finance in a recent interview. While touring in other countries like South Africa, “that was a marketing tool for me.”

Fast forward to 2018, and Bublé capitalized on the skit when got a call from Pepsico’s new sparkling water brand, bubly. In the 2019 Super Bowl LIII Commercial, "Can I have a bublé?," the 45-year old debated the pronunciation of the product with shoppers.

“I assumed when I got the call, I would make this commercial and then that would be it...” Bublé continued. “it'd be great for me and I'd make a Super Bowl commercial.” But it turned out to be deeper than that, he added.

“I remember sitting with the writers and sort of writing different ideas of how the commercial would end,” Bublé stated. “That's a different thing than it usually is, because it usually isn't like that ...it can feel very corporate.”

‘The right positioning’

Sodastream launches new bubly drops, alongside the debut of Michael Bublé Commercial. (Courtesy: Sodastream)
Sodastream launches new bubly drops, alongside the debut of Michael Bublé Commercial. (Courtesy: Sodastream)

And it turns out, Bublé hopped onto this opportunity just in time for sparkling water, an increasingly popular beverage category.

“Sparkling water has been has been on the rise and taking over,” Bryan Welsh, Sodastream’s U.S. General Manager told Yahoo Finance.

In Pepsico’s third-quarter earnings results, Pepsico CEO Ramon Laguarta shared that bubly had double-digit revenue growth, while the North America beverage business delivered a strong improvement in results with 3 percent organic revenue growth.

Sodastream, a business the soda giant acquired back in 2018 for $3.2 billion dollars, saw a similar growth, helped by what Laguarta cited as demand for an “environmentally friendly, convenient, at-home beverage system.”

This spike in at-home consumption has been mostly to the stay-at-home effect of the coronavirus pandemic, but greased by the collaboration between two other Pepsi brands. On Wednesday, the company launched new bubly drops for SodaStream — including six healthy flavors that contain no calories, sweeteners, or artificial flavors.

“Based on what we're seeing in the U.S., we think that sparkling water is the way in the right positioning” to get into U.S. households, “and bubly is the right brand to do it with,” Welsh told Yahoo Finance.

Brooke DiPalma is a producer and reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter at @BrookeDiPalma.

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