SodaStream seeks legal advice after it loses Clearcast ad ban appeal

SodaStream has revealed it is “seeking legal advice” after it was announced that its planned ad campaign – “The SodaStream Effect” – will remain banned after it lost its appeal with regulatory body Clearcast.

The advert, which was set to debut in the UK on Thursday 22 November, was banned at the eleventh hour by Clearcast for promoting the “denigration of the bottled drinks market”.

The ban was upheld following an appeal that involved Clearcast and representatives of the official media owners that fund the organisation, which includes ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5.

“The ad could be seen to tell people not to go to supermarkets and buy soft drinks, instead help to save the environment by buying a SodaStream,” commented Clearcast at the time of the original ban.

They reinforced this position today further: “The Copy Committee has agreed with the Clearcast PCM decision that the advertisement denigrates the soft drinks industry, and is a breach of rule 3.42. Therefore with this in mind, the ad discussed is still unacceptable as it stands.”

The 30 second ad spot showed soft drinks bottles disappearing as people used SodaStream drinks makers and included the tag-line “with SodaStream you can save up to 1,000 bottles a year”. The ad itself was developed in part by Alex Bogusky and Rob Schuham of the COMMON agency, and has been shown in other markets as well as online.

SodaStream launched an interim ad “Bubble Blackout” last week as it awaited the verdict from Clearcast. “Bubble Blackout” invited viewers to watch the banned ad online and has since received over 1.2 million hits on YouTube.

SodaStream managing director, Fiona Hope, commented: “We are extremely concerned by the final decision that has been reached following the appeal. Not only do we reject the assessment that the advert is a denigration of the industry, we are also confused as to the application of the code in this context. The clause in question relates to products, fellow advertisers and advertisements, and at no point references any industry as a whole.

“We stand by our statement that there is absolutely nothing disparaging in our original campaign, as we do not mention or show a competitor brand. We’re unclear as to how SodaStream can be seen to be attacking an industry of which it is a part – it is merely trying to impact positive change on the sector.

“We are currently seeking legal advice following the decision.”

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Gillian West

Gillian West is The Drum’s social media manager and works to ensure The Drum’s content reaches followers across platforms including Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram in an engaging, relevant and timely manner. Based in Glasgow, she has been actively involved in building The Drum’s Creative Works brand for over three years now and has interviewed major creative figures including Rankin, Peter Souter, Rosie Arnold, Bob Greenberg and Vicki Maguire. During her time at The Drum she has attended events such as Cannes Lions, the Edinburgh International TV Festival, Art Director’s Club Europe, D&AD and more.

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