SodaStream insists UK ad ban is absurd

Clearcast pulled the ad, already aired in the US, Sweden and Australia, for "denigrating the bottled drinks market."

SodaStream International Ltd. (Nasdaq: SODA) insists that the ban of its new global advertising campaign in the UK is absurd, and censors the company for trying to save the environment.

Clearcast, the organization that pre-approves UK television advertising and is jointly funded by the UK's major broadcasters, notified SodaStream that the ad campaign would not be allowed to air in the UK. The decision was made just before the commercial's premier in the UK on November 22. Although the ad is already aired in the US, Sweden and Australia, Clearcast deemed it inappropriate for UK audiences.

The ad shows different scenes of soda bottles disappearing instantaneously as people use the SodaStream soda maker, delivering a powerful message about waste and sustainability. The spot closes with commentary of 'with SodaStream you can save 1000 bottles per year.'

Clearcast said, "The majority decided that the ad could be seen to tell people not to go to supermarkets and buy soft drinks, instead help to save the environment by buying a SodaStream. We thought it was denigration of the bottled drinks market."

"This decision is absurd, and the explanation given is totally unreasonable," said SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum. "Are we really being censored for helping to save the environment? This might be the first time in the world when an environmental approach has been shut down by the media to protect a traditional industry. Of course we're competing with bottled beverages, but why is offering a game-changing approach denigrating? It is like saying that iPod ads denigrate the Walkman or that car ads denigrated the horse and buggy. Clearcast's decision is disappointing and disturbing for any democratic society."

Birnbaum added, "The decision appears to put the sensitivities of the world's soft drink giants ahead of concern for the environment. We will continue to push Clearcast to reverse their decision and let the British consumer decide. Meanwhile, I invite UK consumers to watch 'The SodaStream Effect' on YouTube and form their own opinion on it."

SodaStream cites a study by Euromonitor, which found that 629 billion bottles and cans are manufactured annually. "With global recycling rates estimated to be less than 30%, more than 1 billion of those bottles and cans are dumped as waste across parks, oceans and landfills every single day," concluded Birnbaum. "Our ad confronts the beverage industry and its arguably outdated business model by showing people that there exists a smarter way to enjoy soft drinks, empowering them to get the bubbles without the bottles."

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on November 28, 2012

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2012

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