Editors' pick: Originally published May 4.
After seeing mixed demand from consumers for Brita water bottles and filters the previous two quarters, volume for Clorox's (CLX - Get Report) water filtration brand spiked by a double-digit percentage in the fiscal third quarter, which ended Mar. 31. The pop in demand coincided with the March debut of Brita's first marketing campaign with NBA star Stephen Curry, who Clorox signed to a sponsorship agreement in December.
"We are seeing enhanced interest from customers. A lot of attention started in March," said Clorox CEO Benno Dorer in an interview with TheStreet. Dorer added, "We hope to see an impact over time certainly."
Dorer said of Curry, "We just think he is an ideal ambassador for the Brita brand, given his healthy lifestyle as an athlete, but he is also known as a great dad. He ultimately draws a lot of attention to the benefit of using water."
Brita, which represents about 4% of Clorox's overall sales, also benefited during the quarter from new designs for water pitchers and the introduction of the brand's first smart pitcher that tracks usage and automatically orders replacement filters.
Strength in Brita helped Clorox deliver much better than expected third-quarter earnings.
The company reported Tuesday that fiscal third-quarter earnings, adjusted for one-time items, came in at $1.21 a share vs. estimates for $1.10 a share. Volume for the quarter ended Mar. 31 increased 4% year over year, reflecting gains across all of Clorox's business segments.
While shipments in the company's core bleach and Fresh Step cat litter businesses fell, volume for Burt's Bees surged by a double-digit percentage, thanks to the introduction of new lip-care products. Clorox said it also saw strength in its Glad trash bag and disinfecting wipes businesses.
But Clorox is not relying too heavily on Curry's popularity to drive its overall business.
Mostly thanks to demand for Curry's basketball sneakers, Under Armour's footwear sales skyrocketed 57% to $678 million last year. Sales of footwear in the first quarter surged 64% to $264 million. Footwear now makes up about 17% of Under Armour's business.
In a note March 4 to clients, Morgan Stanley analyst Jay Sole estimated that sales of Curry sneakers were on track to bring in about $160 million in sales this year, which would represent roughly 3.2% of Under Armour's own projection for company-wide full-year sales.
Sole also said optimism on the Curry brand accounts for a whopping $14 billion of Under Armour's market cap of more than $17.4 billion.