Yves Behar's "denigrating" SodaStream
ad banned in UK


News: industrial designer Yves Behar believes his revamped SodaStream can save 2000 bottles a year - but a TV advert promoting its green credentials has been banned in the UK for alleged "denigration" of rival products (+ watch the ad).

The banned ad, which was due to launch on ITV1 last night, carries the tag "If you love the bubbles set them free" and features crates of soft drinks exploding each time the SodaStream is used to carbonate still water.

Clearcast, which monitors and approves TV advertising in the UK, said: "Clearcast were unable to approve the recent SodaStream ad because in our view, its visual treatment denigrated other soft drinks which put it in breach of the BCAP [Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice] code (Rule 3.42)."

Clearcast added: "Environmental issues were not relevant to that decision."

The BCAP code states that: "Advertisements must not discredit or denigrate another product, advertiser or advertisement or a trade mark, trade name or other distinguishing mark.

“This decision is absurd," said SodaStream UK managing director Fiona Hope. "We have neither named nor disparaged any of our competitors in the industry and cannot see how this makes any sense."

Hope added: “Through the ad, we are simply displaying an alternative way to living more sustainably and illustrating one of our product’s benefits – the reduction of plastic bottle wastage. The consumer should be allowed to make their own decisions about how to live their lives and the products to choose. This decision appears to put the sensitivities of the world’s soft drinks giants ahead of concern for the environment. We will continue to fight this decision with Clearcast and will push to reverse this decision.”

Behar, who runs California design studio fuseproject, unveiled the new-look SodaStream at MOST in Milan earlier this year. The product was repositioned as an environmentally friendly alternative to bottled soft drinks. Behar demonstrated the product in a video interview we filmed in Milan.

"It really works well in this day and age when we are trying to reduce our consumption of plastic bottles," Behar said in the interview and said the average US household would save 2,000 bottles per year if they used a SodaStream instead of buying carbonated drinks. In the UK the annual saving would be 550 bottles.

The 30-second ad, which has already aired in the United States, Sweden and Australia, was due to premiere during I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here yesterday evening.

Clearcast said it would work with SodaStream to agree a revised script.

  • Mruptight

    I think it is more the lie that a household consumes 10 litres a day of soda.

  • Greg

    I can save 1000 bottles a year?! If that’s what I can save I dread to think what I would actually consume without a soda stream… 1365?

  • Douglas

    I think it's an estimation based on 300cl bottles, rather full litres. Which for my family, is about right.

  • The problem IMO is that the point of the ad is lost. The idea behind SodaStream is preserving the environment, yet the commercial ad would seem to imply that competitors' bottles are a hazard, or just plain brittle.

  • I have to say I didn’t understand the point until I watched the dezeen interview, I literally thought it made the bottles disintegrate somehow.

    Maybe the key idea isn’t getting across clearly?

  • SNP

    I wouldn’t worry. By banning the ad it will be a huge viral success : )

  • chunkbutler

    Guess the soft drinks lobby twisted some arms. I like the message and think it’s clear. It could go further though and let us know that sugary drinks can cause gastro-intestinal problems and insulin resistance leading to diabetes. Also PET is one of the few successfully recyclable polymers out there, so a shame to target that one.

  • dune

    Set the bubbles free? I think they overshot. Totally valid product but the marketing behind this (and a lot of Yves Behar’s other products) just turns it into kitsch, not design.

  • Chris

    Whether they banned it for one reason or another; I don't care, it's a s**t advertisement.

  • JMA

    Is it really new? Isn’t there a similar product in Germany for many years? Remember seeing a similar one in a German family about 10 years ago.

  • To be honest, SodaStream is a niche product. Here a basic one costs $129.99 (cdn) that’s just the machine, then there’s the drink mixes and you also have to replace its Co2 canister eventually, those cost $20. I’m not convinced you save much, and I wonder just how well these things sell.

  • The ad doesn’t make sense. So luckily the ban means it will only be seen next to an explanation of what it’s for (eg this blog post).

    And in any case, it’s their fault for not running it past Clearcast at script stage!