CBS has banned SodaStream's Super Bowl commercial
because it would pose too much of a threat to Coke and Pepsi, two of the network's top advertisers, according to the commercial's creator.
Alex Bogusky, co-founder of the ad agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky, Tweeted Friday that SodaStream's Super Bowl spot, slated to air in the fourth quarter, had been cut by CBS. The soda company would instead submit a different commercial to air during the game.
"We get that Coke and Pepsi spend billions verses SodaStream’s millions but that’s a hard decision to rationalize," Bogusky told Forbes
Thursday. "Especially when there is such a huge environmental advantage to the SodaStream model."
SodaStream, a mainstream advertiser and maker of home soda-making machines, hoped to make a splash during the Super Bowl with a commercial depicting truck drivers clad in clothing with Coca-Cola and Pepsi marks on them, Ilan Nacasch, SodaStream's chief marketing officer, told Ad Age.
"We really tried to comply with the standards," Nacasch said. "We were taking it to a new level, and that's the level where they apparently judged to be going too far."
What is interesting about CBS banning the SodaStream ad is that, in the past, Pepsi has run overtly competitive commercials aimed at Coke. In one, Coke deliverymen abandon their employer for a sip of a Pepsi drink. But, as Ad Age notes, both soda companies are big Super Bowl sponsors and CBS advertisers.
SodaStream ran into problems last year, when British authorities yanked their ads.
CBS execs declined to comment, but other media outlets have spoken out about the network's decision.
"I am shocked that CBS would ban a spot for being too competitive. But I'm even more shocked that the advertising world isn't up in arms about it," wrote Forbes' Will Burns in a column Thursday. "CBS is protecting its relationship with Coke and Pepsi. Those two brands spend big bucks on the Super Bowl and on the network, in general. I get it. But all CBS would have to do, if Coke and Pepsi put the pressure on, is say, 'Hey, we're just the unbiased middleman here. It’s not up to us what competitors of yours say about you.' There's no need for the medium to have a say in the message."
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