UK maintains 'green' TV ad ban after rejecting official appeal

by ClickGreen staff. Published Tue 04 Dec 2012 14:04
Censor maintains TV blackout for SodaStream ad
Censor maintains TV blackout for SodaStream ad

The UK's advertising regulator has rejected an official appeal to screen a banned SodaStream TV advert that it claimed might upset the world's soft drinks giants.

Ad censor Clearcast pulled the plug on the planned ad campaign – “The SodaStream Effect” – that highlighted its environmental advantages when compared with the waste issues of the soft drink industry

However, despite appealing the original decision through the official process, the 30-second ad will remain banned to UK TV audiences.,

The advert, which was originally scheduled to premiere on Thursday 22nd November, was pulled from transmission as it was branded a ‘denigration of the bottled drinks market’.

Following an appeal that involved Clearcast and representatives of the official media owners that fund the organisation, which includes ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5, the previous ban was upheld.

Clearcast had previously stated 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”.

The organisation reinforced its position today by arguing: “The Copy Committee has agreed with the Clearcast PCM decision that the advertisement denigrates the soft drinks industry, and is a breach of rule 3.42. Therefore with this in mind, the ad discussed is still unacceptable as it stands.”

The TV commercial shows different scenes of soft drink bottles disappearing instantaneously as people use the SodaStream drinks maker, delivering a powerful message about waste and sustainability.

The ad closes with the line "with SodaStream you can save up to 1,000 bottles a year".

Developed in part by highly acclaimed and influential advertising innovators Alex Bogusky and Rob Schuham of the COMMON agency, a group dedicated to accelerating social change, and directed by Daniel Benmayor, the new campaign tackles the soft drinks industry’s waste issues head on by showcasing the brand’s values and promoting sustainable consumption.

An interim advert – “Bubble Blackout” - had been broadcast in place of the oringinal commercial while the drinks brand awaited the verdict from Clearcast. The simple advert delivered an impactful message that SodaStream will not be silenced and invited people to the view the banned advert on YouTube. “The SodaStream Effect” already has over 1.2 million hits on the video sharing site.

Fiona Hope, SodaStream UK Managing Director said: “We are extremely concerned by the final decision that has been reached following the appeal. Not only do we reject the assessment that the advert is a denigration of the industry, we are also confused as to the application of the code in this context.

“The clause in question relates to products, fellow advertisers and advertisements, and at no point references any industry as a whole.

“We stand by our statement that there is absolutely nothing disparaging in our original campaign, as we do not mention or show a competitor brand. We’re unclear as to how SodaStream can be seen to be attacking an industry of which it is a part – it is merely trying to impact positive change on the sector.

“With 15 million bottles being used every day in the UK and only 46% being collected for recycling, the public needs to be encouraged to act in order to positively impact the environment.”

SodaStream said it is now seeking legal advice following the decision.

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