SodaStream scores Super Bowl scandal

By Matt Gillis

In the world of advertising, there is no better way to publicize your brand to an enormous amount of consumers than during the Super Bowl. But even though there is an audience of over 108 million television viewers (Super Bowl XLVII) in the United States alone, companies must compete against the clutter of the numerous other advertisements featured throughout the game. The heightened demand for a Super Bowl advertising spot has companies generating their most creative and effective commercials of the year, which is another factor each business must consider in trying to effectively reach their target consumer.

sodastream-hopes-scarlett-johansson-can-revive-its-brand-during-the-super-bowl

However, some companies have turned their Super Bowl advertisements into newsworthy affairs. Several critics even believe that the controversy surrounding said advertisements are calculated attempts to heighten the company’s brand publicity beyond the confines of the Super Bowl.

One such company, SodaStream, has recently been in the news due to their advertisement, which was scheduled to air during this year’s Super Bowl XLVIII on February 2, being initially rejected by Fox. SodaStream is a company that produces machines that allow consumers to make carbonated beverages in their homes. The advertisement, which features actress Scarlett Johansson, directly addressed its biggest beverage competitors saying, “Sorry, Coke and Pepsi.”

Because Coca-Cola and PepsiCo are two of the Super Bowl’s largest advertisers, Fox officials initially rejected SodaStream’s advertisement. A censored version of the advertisement that emits the line mentioning the company’s competitors will be broadcast on game day.

However, this is not the first time the Israeli beverage company has been subject to advertisement scrutiny. Last year, the company’s Super Bowl advertisement was rejected by CBS because it claimed that its reusable bottles made the brand greener than both Coke and Pepsi.

With the hefty price tag of up to $4.5 million for 30 seconds of airtime during the Super Bowl, companies like SodaStream have turned to cheap publicity scandals to garner more consumer reach. The process of submitting advertisements with the knowledge of their looming rejection due to raunchy or inappropriate material is just one of the many tactics companies have turned to in hopes of receiving public attention.

While SodaStream has been successful in creating media buzz about their campaign and brand, the repetition of their publicity-seeking behavior is creating a negative brand image for the company. The short-lived media attention will not generate loyal consumers, and I believe the use of negative publicity as a means of garnering attention has the potential to hinder an up-and-coming company in the long run.

Reference list:

–       Wire. (2014, January 28). Scarlett Johansson SodaStream Super Bowl ad tweaked to drop Coke, Pepsi references. ABC 15. Retrieved January 29, 2014, from http://www.abc15.com/dpp/news/national/scarlett-johansson-sodastream-super-bowl-ad-tweaked-to-drop-coke-pepsi-references

–       Rivera, Z. (2014, January 29). Scarlett Johansson’s uncensored SodaStream Super Bowl ad banned by Fox. NY Daily News. Retrieved January 29, 2014, from http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/tv-movies/scarlett-johansson-uncensored-sodastream-super-bowl-ad-banned-article-1.1595712

3 thoughts on “SodaStream scores Super Bowl scandal

  1. This story has caused way more controversy and internet chatter than I thought it would. I personally do not see anything wrong with this advertisement because companies call out their competitors all the time. Toilet paper and paper towel companies do that on TV everyday, yet this commercial causes so many issues for the SuperBowl. Either way, SodaStream got this video to go viral so I guess they succeeded regardless.

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  2. I don’t believe the controversy lies with Soda Stream calling out Pepsi or Coke, which is a normal strategy imposed by agencies. But rather, I think the controversy lies with the sexualization of Scarlett Johansson. She claims, “If only I could make this message go viral…” then proceeds to reveal a slinky black dress while seductively sipping on a straw, implying that a sexy woman is the only way to make something go viral. This is the sad reality of advertising, particularly for the Super Bowl, and I wish more companies would take an initiative to sell their products in less demeaning ways.

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