Last year, CBS forced SodaStream to remake its first Super Bowl commercial after facing pressure from Coke and Pepsi. The initial ad from the Israeli soda kit manufacturer directly attacked both companies, which caused a debate about the fairness of competition. The controversy ended up being more memorable than the final approved ad.
A year later, SodaStream is in the same position.
Fox has rejected the company’s first commercial, starring actress Scarlett Johansson, for her closing line “Sorry, Coke and Pepsi,” reports USA Today.
SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum told USA Today that he is irate: “This is the kind of stuff that happens in China. I’m disappointed as an American.”
Fox and Pepsi would not speak to USA Today on the matter, but Coke confirmed that it had no role in pressuring Fox.
Birnbaum previously told the New York Times that the ad would not attack the soda giants. “I don’t need to talk about Coke or Pepsi to legitimise our story,” he said, and added that there would be “a subtle acknowledgment of the competition of the beverage industry.”
This raises the question of whether or not the line in question was a deliberate attempt to generate buzz for the ad a week before the Super Bowl.
Adweek‘s David Griner weighed in:
…While SodaStream is right to be annoyed, it’s also a bit silly to hear the brand’s CEO, Daniel Birnbaum sounding shocked, SHOCKED to find that his attempt at prodding competitors failed for the second year in a row.
Brands like GoDaddy and PETA have been accused of submitting ads to past Super Bowls they knew would be rejected in order to attract extra attention before the game.
The SodaStream ad premiering during Super Bowl XLVIII on Feb. 2 will be produced by the agency Humanaut, with direction from CP+B co-founder Alex Bogusky, also the creator of last year’s banned ad.
Here’s the ScarJo commercial’s teaser:
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