For the second year in a row, the “make your own soda” upstart's Super Bowl commercial has been rejected for going after industry kings Coke and Pepsi (both major sponsors of the game).
While last year’s banned commercial was a tad aggressive, this year’s ad, which features a seductive Scarlett Johansson touting the company’s home-carbonation machine, is far tamer. At the end of the spot, Johansson offers the weak diss “Sorry, Coke and Pepsi.”
Diss or no diss, it was enough for Fox to pull the plug, forcing SodaStream to hastily edit the commercial at the last minute.
After all, a year ago, Birnbaum told Entrepreneur: "It is a PR gift to have an ad banned.” At the time, he was speaking about a commercial that had been banned in the U.K., which showed cans, bottles and cases of conventional sodas exploding every time a consumer carbonated a drink with one of SodaStream's machines. Birnbaum was abuzz with all the free press bubbling in: "We got so much media coverage from that,” he said.
Yaron Kopel, SodaStream’s chief innovation and design officer, insists that the company wasn’t expecting Fox to reject its commercial. “It simply mentions the brands in a humorous way! If we wanted to make sure we were banned, we would have done something more provocative.” That said, he admits that the ban is not an altogether bad development. “It’s kind of another gift."
No kidding. News sites all over the world, covered the story, and the uncensored version of the commercial already has over 3.5 million views on YouTube.
When you’re a small fish competing against industry sharks, you have to innovate. “Our entire marketing budget for the year is probably equal to Coke’s advertising budget for a single day,” Kopel says. “We need to be a bit more creative about telling our story.”
Never underestimate the value of creativity in a mass media and social media campaign. Getting a video getting viral, may be at the end of the day, a very positive turning point of your business.