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UK Bans SodaStream Ad As ‘Denigration Of The Bottled Drinks Market’

SodaStream International has released a statement noting that it has been informed by the United Kingdom’s Clearcast that the company’s new global advertising campaign has been pulled from transmission and will not be permitted to air in the U.K, market. Clearcast is the organization that pre-approves U.K. TV advertising and is jointly funded by the Britain’s major broadcasters.    

According to SodaStream, the last minute decision came just ahead of the television commercial’s planned U.K. premiere on November 22, during the prime time scheduling of the ‘I’m a Celebrity’ program on Britain’s ITV1 channel. The ad, which is currently running in the United States, shows different scenes of soda bottles disappearing instantaneously as people use the SodaStream soda maker. The company intended the ad to deliver a message about waste and sustainability. The spot closes with commentary of: “With SodaStream, you can save 1,000 bottles per year.”

Despite already airing in the United States, Sweden and Australia, it has been deemed inappropriate for U.K. audiences.

According to SodaStream, Clearcast offered the following reasoning for the 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.”

“This decision is absurd, and the explanation given is totally unreasonable,” stated Daniel Birnbaum, CEO of SodaStream.  “Are we really being censored for helping to save the environment? This might be the first time in the world when an environmental approach has been shut down by the media to protect a traditional industry. Of course, we’re competing with bottled beverages, but why is offering a game-changing approach denigrating? It is like saying that iPod ads denigrate the Walkman or that car ads denigrated the horse and buggy. Clearcast’s decision is disappointing and disturbing for any democratic society.

“This decision appears to put the sensitivities of the world’s soft drink giants ahead of concern for the environment. We will continue to push Clearcast to reverse their decision and let the British consumer decide.”