Banning the Bubbles.


Americans toss away a staggering 130 billion bottles and cans that end up in landfills or incinerators every year and globally, it is much more. Sodastream is capitalizing on consumer’s increasing eco-consciousness with a battle cry “If you love the bubbles, set them free”. But not everyone is on board. In fact, the UK has banned Sodastream’s latest spot from their airwaves.

The latest television commercial from Sodastream depicts an on trend benefit for consumers–that of sustainability and good for the environment. It very cleverly portrays smashing soda bottles, freeing the bubbles. While most people would welcome an environmentally conscious approach, the UK decided that it would ban the commercial because it can possibly denigrate the soda market. Huh?

According to Sodastream, Clearcast (the approval body for UK broadcast TV advertising) wrote the following with regards to its decision: “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.”

And Sodastream’s reaction? “It’s absurd,” CEO Daniel Birnbaum said over the phone to Forbes. “To be banned in the 21st century with advertising that actually tells an environmental story. I thought the Berlin Wall went down in ’89. Whatever happened to freedom of speech? I’m shocked that we got banned in a modern democratic society.”

Sodasteam certainly isn’t new in their approach. Nalgene has a campaign “Refill not Landfill” to reduce the use of water bottles. Will Sodastream denigrate the UK soda market? Doubtful. While eco-awareness is increasing, it is not a majority as of yet. More importantly though, should the UK be censoring this television ad because of its fear that it will hurt the multi-billion dollar soda market? And can one TV ad really collapse the Pepsi and Coca Cola’s of the world? What do you think?

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