For 2014, SodaStream tried to pull the same thing essentially, this time with Fox. At the end of the commercial, Scarlett Johansson says for all the world to hear, “Sorry, Coke and Pepsi.”
To that Fox said, “Nope. Not gonna run it.”
And to that, SodaStream’s CEO Daniel Birnbaum, outraged, said, “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.”
“It’s nothing new for smaller Super Bowl advertisers, without huge ad budgets, to submit ads they know network censors will reject — and then rush out to the media and denounce the rejection,” writes USA Today. Birnbaum has said that wasn’t his intention.
We say, “Bull.”
SodaStream is trying to make a splash on the biggest advertising holiday of the year. What better way to do that than with a beautiful superstar, an attack on the biggest players in the soft drink advertising world (who also happen to be two of the biggest marketers around), and a bit of controversy?
Here’s the problem though: The controversy came and went at the blink of an eye. For all the energy and money expended to create this buzz, it ultimately ended up being as flat as a glass of day-old soft drink. (We’re not naming names.)
In large part, it’s because of the steady stream of pre-Super Bowl ad releases. Right now, the world is deep in Budweiser “Puppy Love.” We’re feeling post-racial by the latest Cheerios ad featuring a biracial family. And we’re rejoicing at this Full House mini-reunion. No one is paying attention to SodaStream’s faux row with Fox.
Years ago, when ads were kept under wraps until game day, this strategy probably would’ve worked. Now, you have to try something different.
This is where Newcastle Brown Ale wins. They decided to entertain everyone with their inability to run a Super Bowl ad rather than kick up a fuss. They’ve also got celebs (former NFL player Keyshawn Johnson and actress Anna Kendrick), but they’ve released teasers, turned to Reddit, and created a website that’s full of funny clips. And they did it without calling out the competition.
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