Following rejection of appeal, SodaStream challenges UK broadcasters ban and calls for consumers to voice their opinion.
Starting today, the UK-banned SodaStream commercial will be seen on Eurosport, which airs in 59 countries across the globe. This is in addition to the countries where it is viewable on other channels in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Since the ban, the spot has been viewed more than 2 million times on YouTube (Youtube.com/SodaStream). The ad aired for the first time in New Zealand yesterday and will run all this week.
The ad has been approved to air during the Super Bowl in the US but has been banned in the UK. It shows different scenes of soft drink bottles disappearing instantaneously as people use SodaStream, and delivers a powerful message about waste and sustainability. Clearcast, the organisation that pre-approves UK TV advertising, offered the following reasoning for the original ban: “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.” Upon hearing SodaStream's appeal on Dec 3rd, the 'Copy Committee,' which includes senior representatives from the broadcasters' sales departments, upheld the ban.
"The UK is the only country in the world where the ad was banned," stated Ilan Nacasch, CMO of SodaStream. "We hope UK broadcasters will finally understand there is nothing denigrating in this advertising, except exposing a truth that might make certain companies uncomfortable."
Daniel Birnbaum, CEO of SodaStream, added: "This decision is totally absurd. Instead of banning the advertising of bottled beverages for devastating the environment, the UK broadcasters banned our ad. By doing so, they chose to protect the beverage industry that spends £39 million annually on TV ads."
Sodastream International Ltd. it is taking the story to the streets, bringing the debate to public opinion in order to show Clearcast that its decision should be reversed. “We will defend our freedom of expression and are calling for participation from the public. We believe consumers have the right to form their own opinion on the ad and judge if it needs to be banned or not,” says Nacasch. A voting poll is now available on GoPollGo (http://gopollgo.com/should-sodastream-ad-be-banned-in-the-uk)."
This poll comes in addition to a print ad that was placed by SodaStream in major UK newspapers on Dec 6th to call the public to voice their opinion (http://sodastream.co.uk/censoredprintad ).
According to Euromonitor there are 629 billion bottles and cans manufactured every year. "With global recycling rates estimated to be less than 30% for bottles, more than 1 billion of those bottles and cans are dumped as waste across parks, oceans and landfills every single day," concludes 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."