UPDATE: Throwing around words like "uncensored" and "banned," SodaStream has now posted the original cut of its Super Bowl spot on YouTube. Watch it below.
In what has apparently become an annual tradition of feigned outrage, SodaStream says its proposed ad for this year's Super Bowl has been rejected for mentioning Coca-Cola and Pepsi.
The marketing team behind the do-it-yourself soda brewing machine tells USA Today that Fox is forcing the advertiser to remove a scene in which celebrity spokeswoman Scarlett Johansson says, "Sorry, Coke and Pepsi." A similar demand was made by 2013 Super Bowl broadcaster CBS, leading to the removal of all Coke and Pepsi logos from last year's SodaStream ad.
As with last year's spot, SodaStream will still appear in the Super Bowl but will need to provide an edit that doesn't mention competitors by name.
Advertising icon Alex Bogusky, who has been working on this year's Super Bowl spot for SodaStream, tells the newspaper he's disgusted "that Fox protects its big advertisers to the detriment of the environment and consumers." (Known these days for his vocal social consciousness, Bogusky has a soft spot for SodaStream because it produces less plastic waste and uses less sugar than traditional sodas.)
One could reasonably infer that the decision was made by Fox as a favor to halftime sponsor Pepsi. (Coke says it did not request any limitations on competitor ads.) And 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.
Birnbaum even went so far as to tell USA Today, "If I could get my money back, I'd be happy to be out of that deal." Right. I'll believe that when Scarlett Johansson shows up at my house to make cranberry sodas and talk trash about Dr Pepper.
The Fans. The Brands. Social Good. The Future of Sports. Don't miss the upcoming Brandweek Sports Marketing Summit and Upfronts, a live virtual experience on Nov. 16-19. Early-bird passes available until Oct. 26. Register now.