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SodaStream Super Bowl Ad Fails

Published February 14, 2014 at 7:34 am

For those that are lucky (and rich) enough to get their commercials aired during the Super Bowl, it’s generally a pretty exciting time. Having your brand displayed before the millions of people that tune into the big game can be a major boost to revenue, and businesses that can afford to do so will pay top dollar for the privilege. One such company was SodaStream, which debuted its marketing push amidst claims that its factory conditions are less than ideal.

Its ad featured a close up on spokeswoman Scarlett Johansson sipping on one of their carbonated beverages and smiling coquettishly into the camera. In the commercial, she spoke frankly about a desire for the marketing push to go viral, and hinted at an uncensored version that was even more direct. As it turns out, the original unedited version contained a dig at rivals Coke and Pepsi, a snarky nod that had to be cut out in deference to Pepsi, which sponsored the Super Bowl.

While for most companies, such a strategy would have been interesting and possibly buzzworthy, it has been overshadowed by criticism of the company’s policies in its West Bank factories.

Rather than the ad generating the sort of viral buzz intended by the manufacturer, it only threw into more stark relief the potential missteps SodaStream is making with respect to its workers.

As a marketer, that sort of controversy is never easy to maneuver around. However, it’s important not to make the situation worse by ignoring it and hoping it goes away. Making a video poised to go viral can be a great way to get a lot of interest, but it can also exacerbate underlying issues.

SodaStream tried to make a big splash at the Super Bowl. Ironically, its efforts fell flat.

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