Life

The Deranged Statement From LaCroix’s CEO, Annotated

“Managing a brand is not so different from caring for someone who becomes handicapped.”

SAN ANSELMO, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 08: LaCroix sparkling water is displayed on a shelf at a Safeway store on March 08, 2019 in San Anselmo, California. LaCroix sparkling water maker National Beverage Corp. had its first quarterly sales decline in 5 years and  a 39 percent decline in profits from one year ago. The company reported earnings of $220.9 million. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
A mild drink.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Times are weird and bad for LaCroix. Last year, it came to light that the CEO of the brand, Nick Caporella, faced a pair of lawsuits alleging that he inappropriately touched two former employees. Then, another lawsuit claimed that the “all natural” flavored seltzer drinks contain a chemical that is sometimes used to kill cockroaches (that part is actually safe and fine). Perhaps as a result, profits for National Beverage Corp., which makes LaCroix, are way down.

An earnings report from the company released Thursday shares some specific numbers, along with thoughts about the slump from Caporella. Including some heartfelt words along with the grim math was probably intended to bring some stability to the situation. Instead, the company’s shares are sliding even further.

Why might this be? We’re left trying to put our finger on why everything has taken such a turn. Let’s unpack Caporella’s lengthy statement from the earnings report, line by line. (His words in bold.)

We are truly sorry for these results stated above.

A sincere apology is rare these days. So far, so good.

Negligence nor mismanagement nor woeful acts of God were not the reasons – much of this was the result of injustice!

Well! This dispatch has suddenly turned stronger than any of the gently flavored seltzers the brand produces. For those who haven’t had a can of LaCroix in a while, the following tweet from @daanieltran is the correct description of the experience: “La Croix taste like if you were drinking carbonated water and someone screamed out loud the name of a specific fruit in the other room.” Still an acceptable drink, in my opinion, especially if you can pick it up at a big-box office supply store (New York magazine reports that it can be found for about 60 cents a can at Staples), or are one of the lucky ducks that works in an office with spoils of free trendy snacks.

Anyway, “woeful acts of God,” “injustice,” hmm. I never thought of my LaCroix in such terms. Let’s continue.

Managing a brand is not so different from caring for someone who becomes handicapped. 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.

Uh? Yuck. Folks with disabilities are not into this, unsurprisingly, but it is not hard to see why this is … not a good analogy. Let’s take a moment to collect ourselves.

It is important that LaCroix’s true character is not devalued intentionally − in any way.

LaCroix management seems to have mistaken LaCroix for a national treasure. Not devaluing “true character” is the kind of thing that I think about after my incredibly cute beagle mix has, say, stolen part of a cheeseburger from one of my roommates, leaving me to do damage control. I remind everyone: Her true character is that of a tiny angel, not a cheeseburger predator.

Is it possible that we’ve ego-boosted this brand too much, turning it into a spoiled, ranting puppy? In 2015, it was the subject of a “Letter of Recommendation” in the New York Times Magazine, in which writer Mary H.K. Choi not only praises the drink for supplying bubbles that are “small and frothy rather than spiky,” but gives it partial credit for the first weeks of sobriety she’d experienced in over a decade. The “seltzer has come to fill the gaps that booze and pot left behind,” Choi wrote, adding that she even considers drink in her morning meditation routine because it helps bring good thoughts. That’s a pretty good sample of typical La Croix fanaticism.

Speaking of woeful acts of God, by 2018, America was drinking so much LaCroix that “pamplemousse” LaCroix bathing suits became a thing. The more offensive of Caporella’s words and alleged actions aside, maybe this total nonsense is what we get for not properly scolding a beverage that can’t just say “grapefruit.”

National Beverage Corp. is and will remain the preeminent innovator that adds zest and authenticity to the ‘sparkling water’ phenomenon in North America.

(But not too much zest.)

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.

Phew, back to jargon.

There is no greater passion than the kind that creates the wonderful refreshment and contentment described as unique!

I’m beginning to worry Caporella has never had a LaCroix. Tasked to come up with any specific quality about the beverage, he just shouts some adjectives in true Trumpian form.

No doubt, the sound and personality of the word LaCroix, coupled with the awesome experience of its essence and taste … is unique. 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.

Seriously: Prove you actually know one thing about your own drink.

Just ask any LaCroix consumer … Would you trade away that LaLa feeling? ‘No way, they shout – We just love our LaCroix!’ I am positive they respond this way each and every time.”

Mr. Caporella, do you … need a beer?