Image and credits: Mediaite.com
SodaStream’s spot in the 4th quarter of the Super Bowl (see below) was undeniably cunning in their successful attempt to make a meaningful and memorable statement during the big game. The ad focused in on SodaStream’s greatest advantage over the soda industry giants – that when you make your own soda with a SodaStream you don’t waste plastic bottles. The soda industry sells approximately 500 million bottles a day, and probably a lot more on game day. That’s 14 billion bottles a month in the landfill. What a great insight to build a compelling story around.
Sodastream’s ad agency, Pale Dot Voyage, was lucky to be working with a client who obviously had the confidence to let them find a David versus Goliath weakness and build on it. If the measure of a great story is one that gets people talking then this sure does qualify, but not just for the spot that eventually ran. While Super Bowl ads have celebrated points of contention as long as I can remember, apparently CBS didn’t like the idea of stirring the pot among some of its biggest supporters – namely, Coke and Pepsi. The original ad submitted to CBS by SodaStream was blocked due to its direct stab at both of the soda giants and the replacement ad featured generic soda brands in their place (you can find both ads at the end of this article). The big take away here seems to be the unfair advantage a major advertiser like Pepsi has, and the unfair pressure it can put on a broadcaster like CBS to block a competitor from playing in a honest game of competitive rivalry. How ridiculous is it that Coke and Pepsi have been going at it for years, but when a small competitor hits them both where it hurts, Pepsi plays dirty and gets them thrown out of the game? You’ve got to believe it would have been different if the Halftime Show wasn’t title-sponsored by Pepsi.
I’d like to understand CBS’ moral compass for screening what’s appropriate and what’s not for Super Bowl ads. Where was their sense of what’s appropriate and what’s not when the choreography was presented for the Pepsi-sponsored, sexually-charged half-time show with Beyoncé and her tantalizing moves? Where was the filter when the KIA and AXE ads were approved? If CBS is in the business of monitoring their ads to ensure fair play, competition and the best team winning, it seems appropriate to ask them to share their rules for what’s appropriate and what’s not for a family viewing audience.
The SodaStream ad CBS wouldn’t run:
The SodaStream ad that ultimately aired: