SodaStream, the at-home soda-making system, offers a sustainable and more healthful alternative to supermarket soda brands. SodaStream’s drinks contain less sugar and generate less bottle waste with its reusable glass canister. But just because it’s nicer for you and the environment doesn’t mean the company has to play nice when taking on the competition.
As with its 2013 Super Bowl ad, SodaStream put its competition–Coke and Pepsi–directly in its crosshairs. Though this time the company’s dis to its giant rivals is delivered with supreme sultriness by its new brand ambassador and longtime fan of the product, Scarlett Johansson. The ad, created by Humanaut with creative consultation by Alex Bogusky, starts with the actress revealing that, like most actors, her real job is saving the world. After demonstrating how the system works, she then sheds her white bathrobe to reveal a flattering dress and proceeds to make eye-love with the camera and extensively fondles a straw before delivering her takedown: “Sorry, Coke and Pepsi.” Fitting for the Super Bowl, but not acceptable for Fox, reportedly. As with last year’s ad, Sodastream’s spot didn’t pass muster with the broadcaster (which hasn’t commented publicly on the matter) and has been banned from the game for its direct attack.
The reaction of SodaStream’s CEO Daniel Birnbaum was kind of amazing. “This is the kind of stuff that happens in China. I’m disappointed as an American,” he said to USA Today. But as Yaron Kopel, the company’s chief innovation and design officer tells us, he’s got a point: “We view Coke and Pepsi as our competitors and they have long mentioned one another in their ads. That’s all this is: just mentioning. You can see how subtle and humorous it is. We hoped this year that Fox would approve the ad. We still hope they change their mind.”
Instead, the spot will run on game day with an alternate ending. As ScarJo coyly throws out her come-hither eyes, instead of naming names she simply says, “I just love saving the world.” (As an aside, Johansson has recently come under fire from Oxfam, one organization she’s involved with to actually help save the world, for aligning herself with SodaStream, which is an Israeli company that operates in the West Bank. UPDATE: She has parted ways with Oxfam over the conflict).
And like so many business ideas today, the inspiration for this ad’s combo of soda and sexy, while par for the course for the Super Bowl, can be linked to Fast Company. In 2013, SodaStream was named to Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies list. “We were on the list for ‘For making DIY carbonation sexy’ and attributed this to our new line of products and user experience,” says Kopel. “Now we also have a ‘sexy drink shot’ with a beautiful, amazing ambassador.”
Kopel says it’s all part of the company’s strategy to show that “making soda at home is an easy, tasty, and ‘sexy’ experience, and is a ‘better for you’ way to drink soda.”