Advertisements for the Israeli company SodaStream have been banned in Britain — because they “denigrate” the bottled drinks industry.
Now the company is to appeal the decision calling it “disappointing and disturbing for any democratic society."
“It is like saying that iPod ads denigrate the Walkman or that car ads denigrated the horse and buggy,” said SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum. He said the reason for the decision was “absurd.”
SodaStream has been the subject of boycotts because its main plant is in Mishor Adumim in the West Bank, an area claimed by the Palestinians.
The Israeli news network Arutz Sheva
suggested the reason for the ban is political.
“The factory is considered a political and moral sin” by the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign, the news site said, because the plant, which employs Arabs “is located beyond the 1949 Temporary Armistice Lines drawn by the United Nations after the Arab world failed to annihilate the fledgling Jewish State.”
Arutz Sheva said Britain has previously banned Israeli tourism ads that showed Jerusalem as part of Israel.
SodaStream manufactures machines for home use to make carbonated drinks and promotes itself as environmentally friendly because it reduces the use of plastic bottles and aluminum cans. The ad shows plastic bottles disappearing as people at home use their SodaStream machines.
Television advertisements in Britain are regulated by Clearcast, an organization owned by six major broadcasters in the country.
Clearcast said a majority on the panel looking at the SodaStream ad decided it “could be seen to tell people not to go to supermarkets and buy soft drinks, [and] instead help to save the environment by buying a SodaStream.”
That was considered “denigration of the bottled-drinks market.”
SodaStream will appeal the decision next week.
"This decision is absurd, and the explanation given is totally unreasonable," said Birnbaum.
"Are we really being censored for helping to save the environment?” he asked. “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.
"With global recycling rates estimated to be less than 30 percent, more than 1 billion of those bottles and cans are dumped as waste across parks, oceans and landfills every single day," he added.
"Our ad confronts the beverage industry and its arguably outdated business model by showing people that there exists a smarter way to enjoy soft drinks."
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