CBS banned SodaStream’s Super Bowl spot because, apparently, it was too much of a direct hit to two of its biggest sponsors, Coke and Pepsi.Advertising Age adds:
Please pause and read that sentence again.
I am shocked that CBS would ban a spot for being too competitive. But I’m even more shocked that the advertising world isn’t up in arms about it.
SodaStream has a product that could be wildly disruptive to the soda industry, if successful. As in, the “automobile” to the soda industry’s “buggy whip.” If SodaStream takes off, Coke and Pepsi would have a lot to worry about, for sure. But isn’t that what progress is all about?
CBS is protecting its relationship with Coke and Pepsi. Those two brands spend big bucks on the Super Bowl and on the network, in general. I get it. But all CBS would have to do, if Coke and Pepsi put the pressure on, is say, “Hey, we’re just the unbiased middle man here. It’s not up to us what competitors of yours say about you.” There’s no need for the medium to have a say in the message.
Competitive battles should be fought in the marketplace.
If the SodaStream product is a better “soda idea” than Coke and Pepsi, then shouldn’t it be given a fair shot within any medium it decides to risk its dollars? If it’s not a better idea, the market will decide its fate, not CBS. But even beyond that obvious argument, it’s in CBS’s, and all media’s, interest to encourage unbridled competition. The more threatened a Coke and Pepsi feel, in this case, the more likely they are to launch new campaigns specifically targeting the threat. And that’s more money pouring into the media, not less. But Coke and Pepsi won’t do that now (or are less likely to), because CBS intervened, took the pressure off, and effectively sided with Coke and Pepsi.
So what's the issue? 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.Here's the ad, which has already gained over 2 million views since yesterday:
SodaStream, which sells home soda-making machines, has already run afoul of authorities in the U.K. for a Bogusky-crafted spot indicating its product is more environmentally friendly than established sodas; the spot shows branded bottles and cans of soft drinks exploding into thin air. For the Super Bowl, it hoped to up the ante with a spot depicting truck drivers clad in clothing with Coca-Cola and Pepsi marks on them, according to Ilan Nacasch, SodaStream's chief marketing officer.
"We really tried to comply with the standards" set by CBS, he said. At the same time, he added, "We were taking it to a new level, and that's the level where they apparently judged to be going too far."
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.
The BDS movement has been freaking out about the ad since it was announced, to no avail. (SodaStream is Israeli.) I'm sure they will attempt to claim credit here. The controversy will probably help SodaStream in the end, though, with more people watching the ad on YouTube than would have on CBS.
However, it seems likely that the earlier British Sodastream ad, that had been banned in the UK for even dumber reasons, is being retooled for the Super Bowl without mentioning the big guys:
If you really want to make the Israel-haters' heads explode like the plastic bottles in these ads, read this:
SodaStream International Ltd. (SODA) is poised for its biggest gain in seven months as the Israeli maker of home soda machines seeks to expand sales in the U.S. by airing its first Super Bowl commercial.There's one other aspect of this I enjoy: watching pseudo-liberals fight against a company that helps the environment and instead side with big soda makers. All because it was created by smart Jewish Israelis.
Shares have posted a 13 percent gain this month after dropping 0.3 percent to $50.53 in New York yesterday.
...SodaStream will probably say on Feb. 28 that sales rose 37 percent last year to $425 million, according to the mean estimate of eight analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. The company last year expanded into U.S. retail outlets including Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) The U.S. represents more than 90 percent of SodaStream’s Americas sales, which also include Canada and Brazil, Lloyd said.