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.