SodaStream International Ltd. (Nasdaq: SODA) insists that the ban of its new global advertising campaign in the UK is absurd, and censors the company for trying to save the environment.
Clearcast, the organization that pre-approves UK television advertising and is jointly funded by the UK's major broadcasters, notified SodaStream that the ad campaign would not be allowed to air in the UK. The decision was made just before the commercial's premier in the UK on November 22. Although the ad is already aired in the US, Sweden and Australia, Clearcast deemed it inappropriate for UK audiences.
The ad shows different scenes of soda bottles disappearing instantaneously as people use the SodaStream soda maker, delivering a powerful message about waste and sustainability. The spot closes with commentary of 'with SodaStream you can save 1000 bottles per year.'
Clearcast said, "The majority decided that the ad could be seen to tell people not to go to supermarkets and buy soft drinks, instead help to save the environment by buying a SodaStream. We thought it was denigration of the bottled drinks market."
"This decision is absurd, and the explanation given is totally unreasonable," said SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum. "Are we really being censored for helping to save the environment? This might be the first time in the world when an environmental approach has been shut down by the media to protect a traditional industry. Of course we're competing with bottled beverages, but why is offering a game-changing approach denigrating? It is like saying that iPod ads denigrate the Walkman or that car ads denigrated the horse and buggy. Clearcast's decision is disappointing and disturbing for any democratic society."
The reasons given are nothing short of ridiculous. Would Clearcast say that ads for electric cars denigrate gas guzzlers?
But I'm sure that some BDS idiots will regard this as a victory since Sodastream is an Israeli company they constantly call to boycott, with manufacturing in a Jerusalem suburb that Arabs claim is theirs.
The joke is on them, because the publicity is worth more than the ad itself.
The timing for SodaStream could hardly be better. The Israeli company has dramatically improved distribution over the past year with a series of high profile retail partnerships. The holidays are upon us, and the company is promoting a new, easier to use carbonator – the SodaStream Source. While the SodaStream ad campaign is not running in the UK, an appeal could put it back on the air next week, and it’s already running globally. Media attention over the clumsy UK move will only help SodaStream build awareness.
Of course it’s difficult to argue that a product whose entire existence is based on the premise that traditional soft drinks create unnecessary waste is not denigrating to the existing industry. But that’s hardly the kind of denigration that deserves censorship. And in any case, the unintended consequence of this ban will be to give little SodaStream another injection of PR adrenaline to power through the holidays.