Jan 28, 2013

Sodastream forced to replace Superbowl ad

For the first time ever, an Israeli company will be advertising during the Superbowl. That is big-time, as we say. It is probably the most expensive advertising spot in television, and now the Israelis are starting to play with the rest of the players.

The company to jump in is Sodastream (aff link: FREE SHIPPING on all Home Soda Maker orders with Promo Code: FREEFIZZ) - the maker of home soda-making machines, along with syrups and flavorings. 

They just announced their advertising scheme a short while ago, and they have already run afoul of the broadcasting company.

CBS has told Sodastream that they must revise their ad. CBS was not happy with the spot prepared by Sodastream, as in it one can see delivery men, truck drivers, with the Coke and Pepsi emblems on them. I don't know what happens in the ad, but with Coke and Pepsi both being advertisers in the Superbowl, CBS decided they could not run this ad from Sodastream that directly targets Coke and Pepsi. The ploy to target the big soda companies is not new. Sodastream has been running campaigns around the world showing how the big companies are the cause of much pollution, much waste, the drinks are unhealthy, etc.

According to Ad Age:

Every year, the Super Bowl attracts some of the best and most high-priced advertising in the world. But it also lures a horde of publicity-seekers claiming their commercials have been censored or rejected by the host network. In nearly all cases, the complaining marketers never really had a shot at the Super Bowl, thanks to shoddy production values, truly objectionable content and, more often than not, the inability to pony up more than $3 million for an ad. And it's a common occurrence for the network to ask event sponsors to tweak or edit the content for a variety of reasons (which also can yield a PR bonanza if a sponsor cries foul -- just ask serial offender GoDaddy.com).
But SodaStream, a mainstream advertiser that some time ago purchased a spot in the game's fourth quarter, said this wasn't a PR gambit.
So what's the issue? The content of its planned commercial seemed to have concerned CBS because it was a direct hit at two other Super Bowl sponsors and heavy network TV advertisers: Coke and Pepsi.
SodaStream, which sells home soda-making machines, has already run afoul of authorities in the U.K. for a Bogusky-crafted spot indicating its product is more environmentally friendly than established sodas; the spot shows branded bottles and cans of soft drinks exploding into thin air. For the Super Bowl, it hoped to up the ante with a spot depicting truck drivers clad in clothing with Coca-Cola and Pepsi marks on them, according to Ilan Nacasch, SodaStream's chief marketing officer.
"We really tried to comply with the standards" set by CBS, he said. At the same time, he added, "We were taking it to a new level, and that's the level where they apparently judged to be going too far."
Interestingly enough, Pepsi has scored big points with viewers over the years by showing Super Bowl ads with Coke deliverymen abandoning their employer wholesale for a sip of a Pepsi drink. Of course, Pepsi (and, for that matter, Coke) buys multiple ads in the Super Bowl each year, as well as spends millions of dollars on other broadcast-TV advertising. Another Super Bowl sponsor, Anheuser-Busch InBev, is also teaming with Pepsi this year for in-store displays and promotions.
A CBS spokeswoman said network executives declined to comment.
"Bummed," Mr. Bogusky, famous for his work at CP&B, tweeted Friday morning. "CBS rejected the SodaStream Super Bowl commercial I was working on. But SodaStream is still in the game with an older spot we tweaked."
He referred an inquiry regarding his comment from Ad Age to his client. SodaStream's Mr. Nacasch said a new version of the ad CBS rejected was being prepared to appear on TV in coming days -- likely before the Super Bowl airs Feb. 3.
It's always nice to see an Israeli company hit the big-time. I hope their revised Superbowl ad will bring them the attention, and ultimately the business they seek.

Godaddy, and other companies whose ads have been rejected in the past for a variety of reasons, have always turned the rejections into an advertising campaign of their own. I hope one day we will get to see the banned Sodastream ad so we can judge for ourselves what was so wrong about it.

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  1. A good idea for a post would be why it is rare for Israeli companies to go all the way and build a great company instead of selling out with an 'exit'. There are many companies that have succeeded (Sodastream, Checkpoint, Amdocs, the military arms companies, Strauss, Osem (though 49% foreign))

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