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.
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.
– 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