SodaStream’s Super Bowl Opportunity for Israel
by Abe Novick
It was the most watched television program in US history. And in 2013, Israel will be represented. The Olympics? Nope. Rather the American Version of the Roman Coliseum. Late in the fourth quarter, right when all the used empty bottles will line tables and countertops, the Israeli company SodaStream will debut a :30 second TV spot on Super Bowl XLVII.
A report on this news in The Jerusalem Post last week quoted Yonah Lloyd, Chief Corporate Development and Communications Officer at SodaStream International saying, “We’re going after Coke and Pepsi in their prime time slot of the year.”
Holy David’s sling Batman! This time we’re taking on two giants.
And giant killing ain’t cheap. The NFL’s matchup on February 4th on CBS, presents the costliest seconds known to Madison Avenue running around $3.8 million for a half-minute of fame.
Such savvy, party-crashing, challenger brand tactics—like those previously utilized by the Israeli company—were banned by broadcasters in the United Kingdom under an intimidated [sic] (woos) excuse it would hurt competition. According to a MediaPost piece by David Goetzl, Clearcast, the body that approves ads for a group of UK commercial broadcasters, turned it away saying, “The ad could be seen to tell people not to go to supermarkets and buy soft drinks…We thought it was a denigration of the bottled drinks market.” In the States, such straightforward methods are as common as, well, lines of empty bottles after a Super Bowl party.
Along with being banned in fuddy-duddy ole England—which itself is a hotbed of anti-Israel venom (or as The Daily Mail’s Melanie Phillips calls it, “the brand leader in a ‘deranged revulsion’ in the demonization and delegitimization of Israel”), the manufacturer gets the fizz knocked out of it in the Googlesphere.
Search “SodaStream” and the results will be a shaken-up, explosion of recycled BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) hatred aimed at crushing a company that’s actually doing some good for the environment. SodaStream even employs approximately some 450 Palestinian Arabs and 400 Israeli-Arabs in its five manufacturing plants in Israel, including Alon Tavor, Ashkelon and one in Mishor Adumim. You’d think it would get some praise. (Whether Britain’s choice to ban the ad smacks of some kind of Left-arm-twisting, might be worth some snooping by a Holmes-Watson team.)
Luckily, and above this fray, the world will see a commercial created by ex-Crispin Porter Bogusky adman Alex Bogusky (a wunderkind in marketing circles), that presents the product as the hero out to tackle Pepsi and Coke’s home turf during the NFL matchup.
Bogusky, who was enormously successful in the 2000s, parted ways with his agency in 2010 and has since turned his talents towards being an “insurgent in the new consumer revolution” at his new venture, FearLess Cottage.
His knack for employing clever creativity as a publicity device will no doubt generate a lot of media attention focused on both SodaStream, and in turn, Israel in the coming weeks. As ad columnist, Stuart Elliott of The New York Times notes, Super Bowl hype has already kicked off!
For Israel, a country that’s a leader in the green revolution, the mass appeal of the Super Bowl is a winning opportunity to gain enormous yardage in the battle for hearts and minds. Indeed, maybe rather than airing a disclaimer (like so many advertisements do), SodaStream could actually note that the product is made in Israel (along with ½ the technology stored in the devices couch potatoes are watching the game on.) Maybe then the world will get up, take note and cheer.