It seems every year, at least one would-be Super Bowl ad is rejected by the network for being too racy or controversial. GoDaddy knows the game well (thankfully they’re not playing that game this year). This year, it’s SodaStream’s turn to go back to the drawing board, after CBS rejected the ad based on four little words.
The ad for the at-home soda-making machine features actress Scarlett Johansson who, at the end of the spot, says “Sorry, Coke and Pepsi.” CBS objected to the line, ostensibly because it would anger two of the game’s advertisers.
“What are they afraid of?” asked SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum in a USA Today article. “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.”
He’s got a good point, but we all know this comes down to money. Coke and Pepsi are two companies that spend infinitely more on paid advertising with CBS than SodaStream does, and CBS would be wise to stay well withing the cola giants’ good graces. SodaStream’s Super Bowl ad was rejected last year, too, for aiming too aggressively at Coke and Pepsi.
Still, you have to admire SodaStream for trying, and for playing hardball with the big boys. SodaStream specifically chose their fourth quarter placement in order to get “the last word” in the cola conversation during the game. They’ll still get the last word but, unfortunately, it won’t be the word they hoped for.