Monday, February 4, 2013

Sodastream Ad Banned From Superbowl

A few weeks back I featured a Sodastream ad that was banned in the UK because 'denigrated the bottled drinks market.'  Ridiculous, but to be fair the advertising standards in the UK are far different than the US.  Essentially, denigrating or drawing unfavorable comparisons to your direct competitors is not allowed.  I noted that Sodastream would be running a similar spot during the upcoming Superbowl.   The Superbowl spot was created by former CP+B principal, Alex Bogusky and ridicules both Coke & Pepsi for their harmful effects on the environment.  Now word has come down that Superbowl broadcaster CBS, having screened the Sodastream Superbowl ad, have decided to ban it.  According to Forbes 'CBS banned SodaStream’s Super Bowl spot because, apparently, it was too much of a direct hit to two of its biggest sponsors, Coke and Pepsi.'

You can see the banned spot below.  Please watch it and share it.  Seriously.  I usually refrain from expressing too many of my personal opinions, but I find the ban absolutely outrageous.  Past Superbowl spots could have been deemed offensive to any number of people (GoDaddy anyone?).  Now that a spot offends two of the biggest advertisers in CBS's stable, the advertising standards people step in.  Effective creative communication is one of the great equalizers in marketing.  Coca-Cola & Pepsi are big boys, with big budgets and access some of the best agencies/creative talent in the world.  Sodastream should be allowed to compete freely with Coke and Pepsi in the marketplace of ideas in order to persuade customers to choose their products.  It's just that simple.

On the plus side, Sodastream just saved itself a significant percentage of their overall marketing spend (the going rate for a Superbowl spot this year is nearly $4 million for 30 seconds).  I expect they'll garner a huge amount of PR/buzz due to the ban, as was the case when the UK commercial was banned.