Scarlett Johansson’s SodaStream Banned From Super Bowl, Impact Is Greater Than Most Realize


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News came out recently that Fox would be banning the SodaStream commercial featuring new spokesperson Scarlett Johansson. There are several theories about why Fox would do such a thing, including too much sexual connotation with in the advertisement.  However most of them surround Coke and Pepsi, the leading brands in soda production in the world.

Here is the ad which has taken the soft drink world by storm:

According to SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum, via his interview with USA Today’s Bruce Horovitz, the move was reminiscent of something that happens in a Communist nation.

“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.”

The words chosen by Birnbaum were interesting, as his company has a lot to do with helping promote peace in the Middle East. Perhaps that has something to do with why Johansson was “saving the world” in the now banned commercial.

For those who are unaware, SodaStream is an Israeli company whose headquarters are in an Israeli settlement in the tumultuous West Bank. For this reason, there were several critics of Johansson’s involvement with the company, including OxFam International, whom she also represents. From a statement on the organization’s website:

“Oxfam respects the independence of our ambassadors, however Oxfam believes that businesses that operate in settlements further the ongoing poverty and denial of rights of the Palestinian communities that we work to support. Oxfam is opposed to all trade from Israeli settlements, which are illegal under international law.”

In response, Johansson issued a statement to The Huffington Post, enlightening people on the principles of SodaStream, and why she chose to represent them. The following are excerpts from that statement:

Johansson says she “never intended on being the face of any social or political movement, distinction, separation or stance as part of my affiliation with SodaStream,” but wants to “clear the air.”

“I remain a supporter of economic cooperation and social interaction between a democratic Israel and Palestine,” the actress said. “SodaStream is a company that is not only committed to the environment but to building a bridge to peace between Israel and Palestine, supporting neighbors working alongside each other, receiving equal pay, equal benefits and equal rights. That is what is happening in their Ma’ale Adumim factory every working day.”

Considering all of this, it is easy to see that SodaStream, while obviously is in the business of making money, has bigger issues on their mind. Even on the company website, SodaStream makes it clear that part of their vision is “Cultivating awareness and championing solutions that involve using tap water and fewer plastic bottles, while building a growing user base that is actively reducing the environmental footprint everyday.”

The banning of the promotion of this company and its growth is a shame on several levels.

UPDATE 

According to CNN:

“One of the lines of the ad was asked to the removed,” wrote SodaStream spokeswoman Nirit Hurwitz, in an email to CNNMoney, identifying the rejected line as: “Sorry, Coke and Pepsi.”

Thus proving that the purpose of this commercial is more than just overtaking the competition. Kudos to SodaStream

 

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