Super Bowl commercials are known for raising eyebrows, but rarely are they pulled from the air for attacking competing brands. That's what happened, though, after CBS previewed the ad purchased for at-home soda-making company SodaStream.
The ad took aim at two other big-time Super Bowl advertisers, Coca-Cola and Pepsi, and CBS executives opted not to air it
Now running non-stop on the Internet, the ad shows truck drivers wearing clothing with insignias resembling Coke and Pepsi logos, while dozens of bottles of carbonated beverages explode, creating a shower of sugary soda. It then cuts to a man using the SodaStream system, as a voiceover says, "With SodaStream, we could have saved 500 million bottles on game day alone."
After news that CBS barred the ad, the video went viral.
Last week Newsmax reported that pulling the ad was strange because Pepsi ran Super Bowl ads taking aim at Coke in the past
Many think that CBS pulled the SodaStream ad to protect the network's relationship with the soft-drink manufacturers, as both brands frequently advertise on the network, especially during the Super Bowl.
"After viewing the commercial a second time, it looks as though legal action regarding restraint of trade could be in order. Nowhere are brand names or identifiable packaging shown," one YouTube commenter said.
Reactions were largely negative to CBS' decision.
"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," Forbes' Will Burns wrote in a column Thursday.
SodaStream executives commented on the controversy.
"Our ad confronts the beverage industry and its arguably outdated business model," SodaStream's CEO Daniel Birnbaum said in a statement. "One day we will look back on plastic soda bottles the way we now view cigarettes."
The spot that replaced the Coke and Pepsi "attack ad" on Sunday was simply a black screen, with the audio from the original, running behind text that directs viewers to search YouTube for the original.
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