After the market closed Thursday, LaCroix maker National Beverage Corp. released its third-quarter earnings report, which included a 39.6 percent decrease in profit.
LaCroix, the line of flavored seltzers introduced by a Wisconsin-based brewing company in 1981 and acquired by National Beverage Corp. in 2002, has been popular in the Midwest for decades but became a nationwide hit in 2015 thanks to its retro aesthetics and the “wellness”-related backlash to soda. It’s now, more or less, a lifestyle brand and has a 30 percent share of the sparkling water sector in the US.
This week, 83-year-old billionaire CEO Nick Caporella provided the following series of sentences as explanation for the poor-performing quarter, which we’ve annotated both for clarity and to give you some short mental rests throughout:
We are truly sorry for these results stated above. Negligence nor mismanagement nor woeful acts of God were not the reasons — much of this was the result of injustice!
Remember when Ja Rule apologized for the Fyre Festival disaster by typing “I truly apologize as this is NOT MY FAULT” into his Notes app and then screenshotting it? Just asking!
Managing a brand is not so different from caring for someone who becomes handicapped.
As we know, brands are people now, and that’s not worth arguing about. I did not know that they had had a run of bad physical luck, and I also do not know where this argument is going. Hope we’re about to tread lightly and not say anything totally absurd!
Brands do not see or hear, so they are at the mercy of their owners or care providers who must preserve the dignity and special character that the brand exemplifies.
(Reached for comment, a National Beverage Corp. spokesperson told Vox, “You have to look [at that line] in its full context. Nick Caporella is a very caring person, and he’s not young. He works every day to make products and excite customers with the brand, and what he was saying is that the loving care one provides someone with special needs is what he does every day with the company.”)
Additionally, gross margins were impacted by volume declines. Comparisons were further skewed by the adoption of the new tax act in the third quarter of the prior year, which included credits and rate reduction adjustments aggregating $11.3 million. Nothing herein mentioned has detracted from the ultimate value and future of our dynamic company.
I really hate to ask ridiculous questions, but if “nothing herein mentioned” detracted from “the ultimate value” of LaCroix or National Beverage Corp., then what exactly is the definition of “ultimate value”? The classic, money-related value of the company was detracted from, a lot, which is the whole reason we’re having this conversation and reading this man’s letter. I’m sure my question will be answered in the following sentence.
There is no greater passion than the kind that creates the wonderful refreshment and contentment described as unique! No doubt, the sound and personality of the word LaCroix, coupled with the awesome experience of its essence and taste ... is unique.
Brands are people. Words have personalities. Essences are experiences. Ellipses have meanings, and in this case they’re … ominous. Which makes sense because National Beverage Corp. CEO Nick Caporella is currently the subject of two sexual harassment lawsuits and struggling with other strange habits, like referring to La Croix customers as “our cult,” spelling the word always “all-ways,” and comparing America under the leadership of Barack Obama to a person trying to parallel park in the rain.
The shock of this information has been somewhat dulled by the fact that Caporella is far from the first CEO to write and publish apparently unedited screeds on behalf of his company, credit his product with everything short of saving the world, or aspire to lead a cult.
One can be induced to purchase by cheapening price or giving away a product, but falling in love with a feeling of joy is the result of contentment. Just ask any LaCroix consumer. ... Would you trade away that LaLa feeling? “No way, they shout — We just love our LaCroix!”
Falling in love with a feeling of joy is the result of contentment — just ask me, a LaCroix consumer. Would I trade away that LaLa feeling? I’m not going to shout about it, and I don’t love LaCroix, I just drink it all day at work to avoid eating snacks or pouring myself a glass of actual water. But no, I guess I wouldn’t trade it away, unless the trade was really good. Like, if the trade were $1,000 or a different kind of seltzer because they literally all taste exactly the same and I don’t care.
I am positive they respond this way each and every time.
“I am positive they respond this way each and every time.”
(As they say, Lord, please grant me the confidence of a man whose signature product has been wildly successful for three years out of its three-decade existence and is now, a little bit, failing, but it’s the result of injustice!)
On the company website, this press release is titled “‘We Just Love Our LaCroix’ Consumers Chant.” At the top, the word “NEWS” is written in all-caps Comic Sans and filled in with an image of the American flag. The statement is followed by some word art that repeats the sentiment “We just love our LaCroix!” and then two company taglines: “Innovation should be new — but ours has the ‘essence’ to refresh and captivate with FIZZ + Fun,” and “Patriotism” — If Only We Could Bottle It!”
After it was published, shares of National Beverage Corp. dropped 16 percent.
Want more stories from The Goods by Vox? Sign up for our newsletter here.