CBS Bans Commercial That Disparages Coke & Pepsi, But Lets Them Disparage Each Other

from the no-disruption-allowed dept

Oh, the benefits of incumbency. Sodastream is a cool new company that allows consumers to make their own carbonated beverages at home.  Given its popularity, largely due to its ease of use, SodaStream’s stock has been on a run the last few months.  It also possesses the potential to disrupt to established beverage companies like Pepsi and Coke.

Not surprisingly, SodaStream would like to advertise this fact.  In fact, it is so keen on advertising the relative benefits of its product over the more traditional route of buying pre-made soda from the store that the company ponied up for a Super Bowl commercial.  Unfortunately for SodaStream, the ad was rejected by CBS, not because it was too risque, but because it “disparages” other major advertisers (which is apparently more objectionable than borderline softcore porn a la GoDaddy and Mercedes).  As Ad Age reported:

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.

We’ve discussed elsewhere CBS’s newfound affinity for the ban hammer, but this isn’t even the first time this has happened to SodaStream.  British regulatory authorities yanked Sodastream’s first major advertising campaign for “being too disparaging towards soda manufacturers like Coke and Pepsi.”

How disparaging was SodaStream that its ads were pulled from television?  Well, it simply pointed out that SodaStream was more environmentally friendly than drinking off-the-shelf sodas because, with SodaStream, “you could save more than 2,000 bottles a year.”  Wow, that is incendiary.  Not safe for public consumption!

It gets better.  Clearcast, the NGO — funded by the British broadcasters — that pre-approves most advertisements for British television, reportedly offered this rationale for pulling the ad:

The majority decided that the ad could be seen to tell people not to go to supermarkets and buy soft drinks, [and] instead help to save the environment by buying a SodaStream. [SodaStream] was also told that it constituted denigration of the bottled-drinks market.

Hypocritically, U.S. broadcasters have allowed Pepsi to air Super Bowl ads that bashed Coke directly, as Ad Age also pointed out:

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.

Moral of this story:  Pepsi and Coke can attack each other over trivial differences in their products, but don’t attack the business model of big incumbent advertisers.

Fortunately, there is an upside for SodaStream.  All the controversy that these ads have stirred has generated a buzz around them.  The SodaStream “banned Super Bowl ad” has already generated more than two million hits on YouTube in two days and generated a media buzz around the company itself.  And that’s without having to splash $3.8 million worth of cash for a Super Bowl commercial.  Another example of the Streisand Effect in action.

[SodaStream is running a commercial during the Super Bowl, but it was forced to replace Coke and Pepsi with fictional soda companies.  However, that ad only has a little more than 17,000 YouTube views in the last two days.]

Cross posted from Project-Disco.

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Companies: cbs, coke, pepsi, sodastream

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Comments on “CBS Bans Commercial That Disparages Coke & Pepsi, But Lets Them Disparage Each Other”

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G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Cool "new" company?

Yep we had one when I was a kid in 70’s in Australia too.. Loved it and always “Got busy with the fizzy” 😉

Bought one last year after they ‘re-invented’ the brand here and basically the only time we buy coke (never pepsi) and other name brand soft-drinks/sodas is for parties or other major events.

Tex Arcana (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

It was 35 for me, the combination of crappy municipal water (downtown Dallas, TX area), medical treatment for a back injury sustained in an auto accident (the drugs, man), and just getting older did it for me.

Today, it’s like the old Diet Dr Pepper ad:

I have to eat at 4:30pm these days if I want to have a decent full meal, and not have reflux all night long afterwards. 🙁

Atkray (profile) says:

Re: may have to buy one.

I received an unsolicited one for Christmas.

I have used it sparingly (I’m counting calories) but I like that the cola is 53 calories for a 12oz serving vs 140 for Coke. It tastes pretty close to Coke and is made with sugar instead of HFCS for those who care.

My daughter tried their Dr. Pepper substitute (I won’t drink carbonated prune juice ;)) and she approved of it.

Rumor has it that the energy drink is supposed to be almost exactly like Red Bull.

Oh, and there is a whole sub-market of mods to convert the machine to use paintball Co2 tanks to further lower costs.

My wife has used it to carbonate some other beverages with mixed results.

My only complaint is the sticker on the Co2 cylinders claiming that you have only leased it from them and they actually own it so you cannot modify it. I suspect they do this to keep people from refilling them, and again there are lots of options online for doing exactly this.

DS says:

Re: Re: may have to buy one.

Egads, I don’t know what flavors you are drinking, but they are all awful. ALL of them contain artifical sweetner, a huge no-no in my book. Still, the seltzer I make with filtered tap water is cheaper and tastes better than store-bought. And there’s nothing stopping you from buying other syrup or making your own.

G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: Fizzy Cordial

Yeah not like the old ones I remember (the fizzy!!!) though even coke ads are cruddy nowadays in my opinion. Actually most ads nowadays aren’t that good anymore. Not happy Jan! 😉

Kmart are selling the new started kit for about $60 (think it was on special over xmas fopr less) and it has a lot more flavours then when we had it as kids. And I’m positive there creaming soda variety tastes exactly the same as the Kirks one.

That One Guy (profile) says:

So is CBS’s new strategy ‘promotion of products through reverse psychology’ or something? First they retract a glowing review of the Dish product, backfiring hilariously and increasing awareness of the product enormously, as well as torpedoing CNET in the process, and now they pull a super bowl ad, again increasing awareness of a product enormously.

Still, I have to hand it to CBS, they are doing an excellent job of pointing people to products they should check out, by doing their (laughably) best to keep people from hearing and reading about them.

Anonymous Coward says:

“[SodaStream is running a commercial during the Super Bowl, but it was forced to replace Coke and Pepsi with fictional soda companies. However, that ad only has a little more than 17,000 YouTube views in the last two days.]”

That’s actually just a copy of their regular TV commercial, which has over 2 million views too.

Anonymous Coward says:

I can’t say I appreciate the byline about setting the bubbles free when we’re talking about a product that uses proprietary gas cartridges exclusively so you’re locked into buying their recharge subscription service. If you really want to set the bubbles free hack one to work with standard cartridges or, better yet, buy one that uses them off the shelf.

Anonymous Coward says:

I doubt this is the real reason

The real reason they likely pulled it is not because it mocks Coke or Pepsi but because of public outrage over the conditions under which the SodaStream machines are manufactured. The SodaStream units are made in Israeli-occupied Palestine in direct violation of the Geneva Convention, which states that occupying countries may not take advantage of seized land or people for economic benefit. There’s still an active boycott going on:

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