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.



Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    icon
    Andy (profile), Feb 1st, 2013 @ 2:07pm

    Cool "new" company?

    I thought this item must be from the seventies when I read the first couple of lines. Sodastream has certainly been around that long in the UK at least.

    But sticking to the point, CBS are clearly out for some form of award for making fools of themselves what with the CNET/CES affair and now this.

     

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Feb 1st, 2013 @ 3:50pm

      Re: Cool "new" company?

      That was 'new' in the sense of quite old really.

       

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Feb 1st, 2013 @ 4:44pm

      Re: Cool "new" company?

      Yup, they were founded in 1903.

       

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      •  
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        btrussell (profile), Feb 1st, 2013 @ 7:36pm

        Re: Re: Cool "new" company?

        Corporations are people too! Except they don't have a limited life span, so founded over century ago is still pretty new.

        Think copyright. If founder was in their twenties when founded and received a copyright, the copyright is still an infant in its' limited time, by todays standards.

         

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Feb 1st, 2013 @ 8:07pm

      Re: Cool "new" company?

      Definitely not new... I had a Sodastream in London, England in the early 70s.

       

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  •  
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    Lowestofthekeys (profile), Feb 1st, 2013 @ 2:07pm

    I may have to buy one of these...so I stop having to resort to apple juice and whiskey.

     

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    •  
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      weneedhelp (profile), Feb 1st, 2013 @ 2:17pm

      Re:

      Just skip the apple juice all together.

       

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    •  
      icon
      Forest_GS (profile), Feb 1st, 2013 @ 2:31pm

      Re:

      Technically, you can use it on juice and koolaid to give it that soda fizz.

       

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    •  
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      Atkray (profile), Feb 1st, 2013 @ 2:42pm

      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.

       

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      •  
        identicon
        DS, Feb 1st, 2013 @ 5:10pm

        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.

         

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    •  
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      Tad (profile), Feb 1st, 2013 @ 4:38pm

      Re:

      Naw, stick with the apple juice and whiskey

       

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  •  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Feb 1st, 2013 @ 2:14pm

    So tempting

    I don't drink soda (I can't stand 99% of it), but I'm almost tempted to buy sodastream just to stick a thumb in the eye of CBS, Coke and Pepsi.

     

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    •  
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      akp (profile), Feb 1st, 2013 @ 2:53pm

      Re: So tempting

      That's just what they want you to do!

       

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      •  
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        John Fenderson (profile), Feb 1st, 2013 @ 4:15pm

        Re: Re: So tempting

        Yeah, but I won't. If I was a soda drinker, I'd just build my own form of what soda stream is doing. It's pretty simple and cheap equipment, and all of the consumables (CO2, syrup, and water) are easily and cheaply available.

         

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  •  
    identicon
    Mike Shore, Feb 1st, 2013 @ 2:29pm

    Obvious ploy

    I'm sure they knew they wouldn't get their ad approved, so they get the publicity ("We are outraged!") plus they save their advertising dollars. Brilliant!

     

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Feb 1st, 2013 @ 4:51pm

      Re: Obvious ploy

      Because any sane person watching that add would think 'well obviously this would get pulled...'

       

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  •  
    identicon
    Jack_Of_Spades, Feb 1st, 2013 @ 2:30pm

    I got a soda stream for christmas, it's awesome.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 1st, 2013 @ 2:33pm

    Off-topic question

    How the hell did SodaStream decide that you can save 2000 bottles per year? I realize that some people drink a lot of soda, but that breaks down to 5 1/2 sodas per day, every day.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 1st, 2013 @ 2:33pm

    Maybe...

    they pulled it since the Company is called soda "stream." We all know that streaming is done by pirates, so these must be the soda pirates. Better to not associate with pirates.

     

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  •  
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    Baldaur Regis (profile), Feb 1st, 2013 @ 2:46pm

    Advertising dollars are the only thing animating the corpus of these zombie media corporations. How much money does Pepsi/Coke throw at them compared to SodaStream?

    A strange sort of kudo must be given to CBS for at least being honest about it...

     

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    gorehound (profile), Feb 1st, 2013 @ 2:48pm

    Just watched it, liked it, and shared the link with others telling them to learn why it was banned.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 1st, 2013 @ 3:01pm

    Dish Network Style

    Obviously CBS would reject one of these too if they tried to put it up for the broadcast but they should go "Dish Network" style with another set of ads running in other markets simultaneously and afterwards. I can't see the other networks rejecting them.

     

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    charliebrown (profile), Feb 1st, 2013 @ 3:23pm

    Fizzy Cordial

    Off topic, but we had a SodaStream back in 1985 (Australian). Cool product. Easy to use. And yummy. But their Australian ads for it are terrible and nowhere near as creative.

     

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    •  
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      G Thompson (profile), Feb 1st, 2013 @ 10:02pm

      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.

       

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    That One Guy (profile), Feb 1st, 2013 @ 4:05pm

    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.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 1st, 2013 @ 4:18pm

    "[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.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tE9U4mMqKP4

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 1st, 2013 @ 4:53pm

    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.

     

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    Vincent Clement (profile), Feb 1st, 2013 @ 5:37pm

    So if a supermarket advertised that it sold food that you could cook at home, would Clearcast ban that commercial because it "constituted denigration" of the restaurant market? What the fuck is happening in this world?

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 1st, 2013 @ 11:39pm

    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: http://sodastreamboycott.org/

     

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    identicon
    junkyardmagic, Feb 2nd, 2013 @ 12:51am

    sodastream

    We had a sodastream in the 70's too. Fascinating as the discussion on free speech is , I'm much more interested in finding out who was the first techdirt reader to use a sodastream . We definitely had ours by 1978.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Pete Austin, Feb 3rd, 2013 @ 1:25am

    Re: I doubt this is the real reason

    That so-called boycott site looks like a clear fake. There are no links to evidence and it's clearly impossible that the main production facility for a worldwide product is in a small village. I think I know who sponsors this!

     

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    Ninja (profile), Feb 4th, 2013 @ 2:08am

    Heh. Blatant example of the deeper pockets being favored. If Coke or Pepsi starts selling the same product along with "syrup" to make "home brew" cola soft drinks nobody will complain. But it's a smaller unknown company eh?

     

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