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After all that buildup– SodaStream ad was flat

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Screenshot from SodaStream's Super Bowl commercial where Scarlett Johansson wonders how it all went so wrong.
Screenshot from SodaStream’s Super Bowl commercial in which Scarlett Johansson wonders how it all went so wrong.

Whatever its political implications, SodaStream’s ad for the Super Bowl didn’t land well among viewers and mavens. It’s getting panned.

The Washington Post, headlines its review, “SodaStream strikes out with Scarlett Johansson Super Bowl commercial.” The piece focuses on the lame “punchline”– of Johansson, a purported soda scientist, sucking on a straw– and says SodaStream needlessly ran afoul of censors for the second year running, by seeking to take on Coke and Pepsi. And the Post says the ad was overshadowed by the political controversy.

TiVo’s Annual Super Bowl Report of most popular ads. There is a conspicuous absence:

TiVo Research and Analytics, Inc. . . , a leader in the advanced television market, today released this year’s top most engaging Super Bowl commercials, promotions and game top moments…

The following top ten commercials and promotions from Super Bowl XLVIII according to TiVo with about half airing in the first quarter and half in the 4th:

1. Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee (Halftime) 2. Budweiser’s “Puppy Love” (4th Quarter) 3. GoDaddy’s “Bodybuilder” (4th Quarter) 4. Doritos’s “Cowboy Kid” (4th Quarter) 5. Toyota Highlander’s “Terry Crews & the Muppets” (2nd Quarter) 6. Doritos’s “Time Machine” (1st Quarter) 7. RadioShack’s “The Phone Call” (1st Quarter) 8. Oikos Greek Yogurt’s “The Spill” (4th Quarter) 9. Bud Light’s “Up for Whatever #2” (1st Quarter) 10. Squarespace’s “A Better Web Awaits” (1st Quarter)

TiVo Research is the only audience research service using second-by-second to rank top Super Bowl spots based on actual commercial retention relative to overall program viewership….

Four of the top 10 ads and promotions on our list this year aired in the fourth quarter, in spite of Seattle’s huge lead on the field. [Ed. note: The same time the SodaStream ad appeared].

The USA Today ad meter ranked the commercial the 48th most popular out of 57 ads that aired during the Super Bowl. Our guess is that SodaStream’s CEO Daniel Birnbaum was expecting a bigger splash when he signed a Hollywood star.

CNN suggests that SodaStream missed the cultural moment:

Where did all the bikinis go?…

The absence of such bro-centric staples from this year’s stable of Super Bowl ads, and a preference for multi-racial, patriotic and small business entrepreneurial themes, seems to suggest that America is growing more serious and more sentimental….

“GoDaddy – another advertiser known for boobs and babes – and what are they are showing? A small business advertising,” said Kelly O’Keefe, professor of brand strategy at the Virginia Commonwealth University Brand Center. He was referring to an ad in which actor John Turturro introduces an entrepreneur quitting her job to launch a company called Puppets by Gwen.

“She actually quits her job on the air, which is an interesting stunt, but what is even more interesting is that GoDaddy has abandoned their raunchy ways of the past,” he said.

…He said that ads were more mature this year, seeming to abandon their adolescent themes of the past.

And there was the Financial Times, Peter Aspden and John Reed:

Perhaps the biggest disappointment for fans of Ms Johansson’s acting talents is the sheer banality of the ad. The star’s stiff and cliched turn is strangely reminiscent of Bill Murray’s performance-within-a-performance in her breakthrough film of 11 years ago. The cool indie beauty of that time has turned disappointingly corporate. Something appears to have been lost in translation all right.

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“The star’s stiff and cliched turn is strangely reminiscent of Bill Murray’s performance-within-a-performance in her breakthrough film of 11 years ago. The cool indie beauty of that time has turned disappointingly corporate. Something appears to have been lost in translation all right.” Zionism is culturally adrift from the West. I imagine 37 years of Likud thinking and the marginalization of the Israeli left wing damaged the ability of the culture to leverage its creativity. Running… Read more »

Hard to believe the version soda stream chose was the best take. Very flat, as you say.
Johansson has to be feeling as seasick as the Broncos.

“Zionism is culturally adrift from the West. ”

Yes, yes, it’s Zionism that made this ad unsuccessful! Zionism designed the ad from its offices on Madison Avenue. Yes, that was it.

Over 10 million hits on youtube and counting. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zxq4ziu-wrI

1. There is no poll of the Super Bowl ads in which SS ranks above the bottom 20%. 2. Johansson’s vapid attempt at allure as she mouthed “viral” was the most meretricious use of that term in ad history. 3. By the time it aired well over half the audience had left because of the impossibility of the Broncos coming back. 4. My wife was aware of the controversy over SS and Oxham and Johansson,… Read more »

Annie, While I share your enthusiasm, the whole stock market was down today and Sodastream’s losses were consistent with the losses of other small cap stocks today, maybe just a tad worse. Here’s two good articles from Bloomberg News on Sodastream’s stock price, John Kerry’s comments on the rising dangers of BDS, and Nyahoo’s and LiKood’s hysterical responses: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-02-03/sodastream-slumps-on-sanction-campaign-over-jewish-settlements.html http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-02-02/israel-spars-with-kerry-on-boycotts-as-u-s-peace-proposal-nears.html Scarlett’s SuperBore ad came on very late in a total washout of a game. I’d… Read more »