UK bans 'green' TV ad to avoid upsetting soft drinks giants

by ClickGreen staff. Published Fri 23 Nov 2012 11:47, Last updated: 2012-11-23
SodaStream ad was part of campaign against waste
SodaStream ad was part of campaign against waste

The UK's advertising censor has been accused of putting the “sensitivities” of the world's soft drinks giants ahead of concern for the environment after a multi-million pound TV commercial for SodaStream was banned.

Marketing executives at SodaStream were informed by Clearcast - the organisation that pre-approves UK TV advertising and is jointly funded by the UK’s major broadcasters - that its new global advertising campaign has been pulled from transmission and will not now air in the UK market.

The advert, which was due to air last night on ITV1 during the ‘I’m a Celebrity’ break, was pulled at the eleventh hour as Clearcast deemed the content to be a “denigration of the soft drinks industry” as “it 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”.

The 30-second advert is part of a global marketing campaign designed to tackle the soft drinks industry’s waste issues head on by showcasing the brand’s values and promoting sustainable consumption.

The commercial shows different scenes of soft drink bottles disappearing instantaneously as people use the SodaStream soda maker, delivering a powerful message about waste and sustainability. The spot closes with the line ‘with SodaStream you can save 1,000 bottles per year’.

Despite already airing successfully in the United States, Sweden and Australia, it has been deemed inappropriate for UK audiences.

Clearcast provided SodaStream with the following reasoning for the move:“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.”

Fiona Hope, SodaStream UK Managing Director, said: “This decision is absurd. We have neither named nor disparaged any of our competitors in the industry and cannot see how this makes any sense.

“Through the ad, we are simply displaying an alternative way to living more sustainably and illustrating one of our product’s benefits – the reduction of plastic bottle wastage. The consumer should be allowed to make their own decisions about how to live their lives and the products to chose.

“This decision appears to put the sensitivities of the world’s soft drinks giants ahead of concern for the environment.

“We will continue to fight this decision with Clearcast and will push to reverse this decision.”

Before news of the ban, Daniel Birnbaum, CEO of SodaStream, said: “The UK throws away over 13 billion plastic bottles a year, many of which are dumped as waste across parks, oceans and landfills. We challenge the entire beverage industry and its arguably outdated business model, showing people that when you can make soft drinks straight from tap water, there exists a smarter choice.”




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