Photo: Wikimedia, CC
Most Super Bowl ad stories focus on the advertisers. But the gee-whizzer for SodaStream — an upstart maker of home carbonation machines — may be the guy who is creating its Big Game commercial.That guy is Alex Bogusky, who has quickly devolved from one of the agency world’s most respected and highly awarded ad creators to one of its most reviled — at least by many deep-pocketed advertisers.
After several years out of the ad business, Bogusky’s back in a big way — returning to the world’s biggest marketing stage, the Super Bowl, to chastise the very world of advertisers that made him rich and famous. Bogusky’s created an ad for SodaStream that will ridicule cola giants Coca-Cola and Pepsi for all the plastic bottles he says they spew into the environment.
Think of it as a superstar from the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” U.S. Olympic hockey team returning to the ice — to play for the Russians. “People in advertising all claim they’re outlaws,” says Barbara Lippert, a pop cultural guru and MediaPost columnist. “But Alex is the one person, in my lifetime, who was able to get out (of the ad business) and stick it to the man.”
In his new life, Bogusky has re-emerged as a staunch consumer advocate — often at odds with the very companies for which he had previously created ads. The agency of which he was formerly co-chairman, Crispin, Porter + Bogusky, created ads for Coke Zero while he was there. Late last year, he created a video that went viral chastising Coke and its polar bears by showing how a cartoon polar bear who consumes soft drinks loses everything from a leg to diabetes to its sexual libido.
Bogusky, whose ads for Burger King and Mini Cooper once won top awards, says he’s now doing what he thinks is the right thing. “It’s all propaganda,” concedes Bogusky, 49, but he wants to encourage new laws that limit plastic bottles. “The biggest benefit I can provide is to get conversations going.”
Neither SodaStream nor Bogusky will reveal details about the 30-second spot. But Bogusky says it will likely feature soda delivery drivers similar to those who have appeared in past Super Bowl spots for cola giants Coca-Cola and Pepsi — but with an environmental twist. “It’s a head fake,” he hints.
Bogusky’s new client says he’s still pinching himself at landing Bogusky. For such a small company, “We’re blessed to work with such a talent,” says Ilan Nacasch, chief marketing officer at SodaStream. “Our goal is the make the bottled-beverage industry obsolete.”
While Bogusky says he disapproves of the sugary flavoring syrup that SodaStream sells, he loves that the company has a solution for the national glut of plastic bottles.
“They have never asked or expected me to be mute on sugary drinks and obesity just because we’re working together on the plastic-bottle issue,” Bogusky says. “They don’t require you to check your soul at the door.”
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