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Watch the Scarlett Johansson SodaSteam ad banned from the Super Bowl (not for the reasons you’d hope)

Israel/PalestineUS Politics
on 35 Comments

Above is the original advertisement SodaStream produced to be shown at the Super Bowl this upcoming weekend. It has been banned by the Fox Network not due to SodaStream’s politics in Israel/Palestine, but because it may upset larger Super Bowl advertisers Coke and Pepsi.

From USA Today:

Fox has rejected this year’s SodaStream Super Bowl commercial — roughly one year after CBS, the Super Bowl broadcast network for the last game, took a similar action against SodaStream’s spot for that game.

Daniel Birnbaum, CEO of SodaStream, bitterly complained to USA TODAY late Friday that Fox rejected the Super Bowl commercial “because they’re afraid of Coke and Pepsi.”

This year’s rejected ad for the make-your-own soft drink company — which stars red-hot actress Scarlett Johansson sensually sipping her home-made soda — got nixed because it ends with her saying, “Sorry, Coke and Pepsi.”

That’s the line that Fox has demanded that SodaStream kill, says Birnbaum.

Don’t get too excited. At this point the ad will still appear, just without the offending line.

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35 Responses

  1. Justpassingby
    January 27, 2014, 2:59 pm

    Man, you killed me with the last sentence.

    Would be so great if it was banned in full

    • Ellen
      January 28, 2014, 7:50 am

      The ad will run, but last line edited out.

      I think not only Fox objected to the ad. It potentially crossed the line under advertising law: Which forbids attributing negative, hazardous or dangerous attributes to your competitor’s product. The ad did just that.

      Birnbaum’s whining that he is an American and only this stuff happens in China blah blah was not only stupid, but adolescent and narcissistic. But hey….he is running the company.

  2. Pamela Olson
    Pamela Olson
    January 27, 2014, 3:03 pm

    Is it all right to also be offended because the ad is so incredibly lame?

  3. DICKERSON3870
    January 27, 2014, 3:06 pm

    As much as I dislike SodaStream, I’m against the banning of SodaStream’s advertisement, whether edited or not.

    • Woody Tanaka
      Woody Tanaka
      January 27, 2014, 3:14 pm

      Why not? Fox is a private company. If they don’t want to upset other advertisers (who give them tons more money than SS ever will), why should they not have the right to reject SS’s ad??

      • DICKERSON3870
        January 28, 2014, 11:14 pm

        They probably have the right to reject SodaStream’s ad, but I personally think it is wrong for them to do so.

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka
        January 31, 2014, 5:25 pm

        On what basis?

  4. German Lefty
    German Lefty
    January 27, 2014, 3:07 pm

    “Less sugar, less bottles.”

    Interesting English. Shouldn’t it be “fewer bottles”?

    • eljay
      January 27, 2014, 3:14 pm

      >> Interesting English.

      It’s not English – it’s marketing-speak. ;-)

    • Woody Tanaka
      Woody Tanaka
      January 27, 2014, 3:16 pm

      “Interesting English. Shouldn’t it be ‘fewer bottles’?”

      Yes, it should be. It’s a mistake that many people overlook. It bugs the beetles out of me.

    • amigo
      January 27, 2014, 4:11 pm

      “Shouldn’t it be “fewer bottles”?”

      It should be “No Soda stream” and less Scarlett Johansson.

      • German Lefty
        German Lefty
        January 27, 2014, 4:37 pm

        It should be “No Soda stream” and less Scarlett Johansson.

        I had to look up Scarlett Johansson. I had no idea that she is Jewish. Therefore, I was surprised to see her in a SodaSteam ad.

      • Citizen
        January 28, 2014, 12:05 am

        @ German Lefty

        Well, in a way, as she identifies as “a NY Jew,” and her mother is Jewish. Yet her daddy is of Danish ancestry. So I guess she’s Jewish like Obama is black since each is actually only half of what they claim to be, and publicly identify with. On other note, the American Arabs asked Oxfam to drop her:

      • German Lefty
        German Lefty
        January 29, 2014, 3:46 pm

        @ Citizen
        So I guess she’s Jewish like Obama is black since each is actually only half of what they claim to be, and publicly identify with.
        I only said that she’s Jewish because I read that her mother is Jewish. And according to “Jewish law”, you are Jewish if your mother is Jewish.

        I guess she’s Jewish like Obama is black since each is actually only half of what they claim to be
        I am not aware of any “black law”. Any way, there are some people who self-identify as black but whom I would categorise as white, e.g. Benjamin Jealous.

      • oneof5
        January 28, 2014, 3:35 am

        “It should be “No Soda stream” and less Scarlett Johansson.”

        I just spit out my Ocean Spray Cran-Rasberry …

        Too funny 8-)

    • RoHa
      January 27, 2014, 7:21 pm

      Having this correction from a German reminds me of a BBC journalist commenting on a meeting between Helmut Schmidt and Ronald Reagan. After pointing out that Schmidt was more intelligent, better educated, and much more experienced in world affairs than Reagan, he added, “and he speaks better English, too.”

      In Britain, organised pedants have successfully nagged the supermarkets into “12 items or fewer” signs over the express lanes.

      • German Lefty
        German Lefty
        January 28, 2014, 3:36 pm

        In Britain, organised pedants have successfully nagged the supermarkets into “12 items or fewer” signs over the express lanes.

        I see. And I assume that before that the signs read “12 items or less”. Right? Any way, 12 items seem a lot for an express lane.

      • libra
        January 29, 2014, 5:45 pm

        GL: Any way, 12 items seem a lot for an express lane.

        Indeed so. We must start a campaign to change the signs to:

        Less than express lane. 12 items or fewer.

      • RoHa
        January 29, 2014, 7:49 pm


        Sadly, here in Australia they still say “12 items or less”. I grumble about it every time I go to the supermarkets.
        (When I’m not grumbling about the appalling piped music, which usually sounds like a girl having a pineapple stuffed up her nose.)
        (Or about the prices, of course.)
        (Or about the hassle of separating the sugar-free, low fat, low sodium, “lite” junk from the real food.)

        My son never wants to come to the supermarket with me. Can’t imagine why not.

  5. Maximus Decimus Meridius
    Maximus Decimus Meridius
    January 27, 2014, 3:11 pm

    Ethical issues aside, both Sodastream and Johansson should be actively looking for a way to block that ad. It’s embarrassingly awful, but then, what does one expect from an ‘actress’ best known for parts of her anatomy?

    BTW it’s ‘fewer bottles’, Scarlett, not ‘less bottles’.

  6. tombishop
    January 27, 2014, 3:44 pm

    The market rules! Personally, I’m not going to watch the Super Bowl. It’s just a circus to distract the masses from noticing what is happening to our democracy!

    • Citizen
      January 28, 2014, 12:08 am

      The masses are only too happy to be distracted from what’s happening to our democracy. I will be watching the game.

  7. Scott
    January 27, 2014, 3:52 pm

    Any possibility that Coke and Pepsi could decide to oppose the occupation? If the Arab countries weren’t so screwed up right now, their local bottlers, affiliates, whatever could make a plausible case on customer/market grounds.

    • Walid
      January 28, 2014, 12:44 am

      “Any possibility that Coke and Pepsi could decide to oppose the occupation?”

      There was a boycott that was tried and was actually successful in hindering business development for the Zionists even before there was an occupation or an Israeli state but the Arabs’ hearts were never really in it. It started back in 1945 after the Arab League was formed. After the 48 war, it took off in earnest with Arab countries actually boycotting companies that were dealing with Israel and especially those that had opened businesses there. But over the years, Arab countries started getting off the boycott bus one by one and today only Syria (with exception to the 5 or 6 years it was buying apples from the Golan) is actually boycotting businesses dealing with Israel. A few Arab countries still maintain restrictions on accepting Israeli passports but these are very few.

      Coke was on the black list for over 40 years simply because it opened a bottling plant in Israel and so was Ford because it opened a small auto parts there; Pepsi and General Motors became the long term beneficiaries of these boycotts. The boycott started dying out with Egypt and Jordan signing peace treaties and the Gulf countries becoming disinterested, especially after the 1977 American anti-boycott law penalizing American companies that respected the boycott. McDonald’s for examples preferred paying the American fines rather than being blacklisted in the Arab countries. One of the last countries holding out was Saudi Arabia, but it had to drop its boycott of Israel to be allowed to join the WTO in 2005 because it was against membership rules. Today, the Arab countries are tripping over each other in their rush to do business with Israel.

  8. ritzl
    January 27, 2014, 4:50 pm

    It was banned last year, by CBS, for exactly the same reason.

    An interesting tidbit from the USA Today article:

    That’s the line [“Sorry, Coke and Pepsi.”] that Fox has demanded that SodaStream kill, says Birnbaum. “What are they afraid of?” asks Birnbaum. “Which advertiser in America doesn’t mention a competitor? This is the kind of stuff that happens in China. I’m disappointed as an American.”

    I’m sure Birnbaum meant, “The kind of stuff that happens in Israel.” Sheesh. Karma’s a bitch.

  9. Memphis
    January 27, 2014, 4:54 pm

    What a lame advertisement

    I don’t know why someone doesn’t invent a better, cooler, and more socially just “soda stream”

    Sorry, Sodastream. Coke will always kick your ass (and pepsi too). I will never use or drink anything by your product.

  10. Taxi
    January 27, 2014, 5:54 pm

    Man, that is one corny video.

    Regarding the offending line: “Sorry Coke and Pepsi”. It’s not the actual line that is offensive, it’s the idea that American brand giants like Coke and Pepsi: essentially iconic American symbols, and in the case of Coke, a symbol of the classic package of the American Dream ideal – the offense is that some little DIY guy from little israel (sodastream) is trying to bump them off the great American Sodapop pedestal – and on Superbowl day of all days.

    Opportunistic cultural takeover?

    Last year, Super Bowl XLVII on CBS drew an average audience of 108.7 million viewers and 26.1 million tweets. The unintended consequences of Globalization aside, we all know that these 108.7 Americans, to help fizz up our flat economy, need to be exposed to and buying American products, not foreign ones.

  11. Oscar
    January 27, 2014, 9:13 pm

    So this was a scam from the beginning, right? Kind of like those PETA “controversies” where their ads were “too hot to handle,” so they get the free PR for being “rejected” by the Super Bowl without having to pay $3 million for 30 seconds. Awesome move. You guys learned well from the banned ad with the exploding soda bottles.

    Hey trendy progressives. If you love the Palestinians, set them free!

  12. just
    January 27, 2014, 9:21 pm

    Selling bubbles, selling sex, selling apartheid, unconscionable cruelty, theft and oppression of indigenous Palestinians?

    What’s not to like?

    Ugh. She has demeaned herself with this trashy ad. And to pretend to be a “doctor” who’s “saving the world” makes me want to puke!

  13. Denis
    January 27, 2014, 9:26 pm

    If that ad is supposed to be sexy, I gotta’ get my testosterone levels checked.
    If it’s supposed to be funny, I gotta’ get my hearing checked.
    If it’s supposed to be funky, I gotta’ get my mojo checked.

    . . .less bottles. A second-team Budweiser Clydesdale has more brains than this chick.

    Birnbaum: I’m disappointed as an American.
    Yeah, me too. . . . I’m disappointed that the country has spent 60 years funding your freaking GoI apartheid system.

    BTW: Does this guy have dual US-GoI citizenship? I guess that qualifies him for Vice-Chair of the Fed.

  14. kma
    January 27, 2014, 10:39 pm

    Coke and Pepsi are not the competitors. whoever hasn’t already bought the latest useless kitchen craze that ends up in the next garage sale isn’t going to.
    Is Sodastream marketing the occupation by hiring Johansson?

    I think so!!! who’s buying??? show some skin, girl, and make Oxfam squirm.

    • W.Jones
      January 29, 2014, 3:00 pm

      Having Johannson as ambassader is not the only issue. Oxfam America has no projects to help in the Pal. territories. That is also a problem. The first problem is symbolic and of images, the second problem is on the ground and a reflection of the image problem.

  15. dbroncos
    January 27, 2014, 11:21 pm

    Why is SJ peddling bubbly water anyway? I thought TV ads were three or four rungs below sitcoms in signaling the end of the road for cash poor icons of the silver screen.

    “We will sell no wine before it’s time.”

    -Orson Welles

  16. Taxi
    January 28, 2014, 9:15 am

    “I just love helping people” is the line that Scarlet will be saying at the end of the commercial, instead of the original line “Sorry Coke and Pepsi”.–215712418.html?vp=1

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