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A legal battle is ensuing between The Coca-Cola Company and SodaStream after Coca-Cola in South Africa issued a cease-and-desist letter in relation to SodaStream’s global ‘The Cage’ campaign.
The Cage is – just that – a giant cage, filled with used bottles and cans to show how many the average family uses over a three-year period. It is an environmental awareness tool that is being used internationally to demonstrate the dangers of packaged soft drinks to the environment.
The Cage in New Zealand travelled the country last summer, collecting over 2000 used plastic bottles from public places and landfills.
In South Africa, The Cage is displayed at the airport in Johannesburg, prompting Coca-Cola to send a letter to SodaStream demanding that its bottles be removed from The Cage immediately. The company claims any used bottles with Coca-Cola branding are the property of Coca-Cola.
SodaStream is refusing to back down, arguing that if Coke does indeed own its garbage, it should be taking responsibility for it and cleaning it up, rather than letting billions of plastic bottles and cans go to landfill.
“We think it is absolutely ridiculous,” says SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum. “If they claim to have rights to their garbage, then they should truly own their garbage, and clean it up. Instead of getting a thank you for cleaning up, we’re getting a lawyer’s letter.”
This is a sentiment echoed by Chris Bremner, SodaStream NZ Marketing Manager. “The Cage is key for us here in New Zealand to communicate to consumers that there is actually a smarter alternative to pre-packaged soft drinks. We will certainly continue to use ‘The Cage’ as a way to promote the
protection of New Zealand’s clean, green image.”
In a classic David vs. Goliath battle, SodaStream is standing up to the ‘big guys’ and pushing its message that there is a smarter, healthier and more earth-friendly choice than store-bought soft drinks – and it’s not about to back down.