Scarlett Johansson’s Super Bowl ad was posted to SodaStream’s Youtube account on Monday, Jan. 27. The controversy over the ad started after the U.S. television network Fox rejected the SodaStream ad. The ad features Johansson promoting the relatively new product. According to the New York Daily News, this ad is promoting the environmentally friendly and the healthy benefits of the product, and doing it with the sensual and seductive face of Scarlett Johannson.
Although, this is the first time SodaStream has gone “viral” with their ad this is not the first time that SodaStream has experienced denial from a network for a spot in the Super Bowl ad haven. This is apparently its second entry that has been rejected. According to the Jerusalem Post, they were denied previously by CBS. Typically, rejected Super Bowl ads are from low-rent outfits, are choppy productions, or have controversial content. According to Deadline Hollywood, many companies will submit ads knowing they will get denied, but end up still receiving attention just for their denial. This ad will still end up getting air time during the Super Bowl. Having Johansson as the front face of their product, SodaStream believes the ad will go viral in a larger way despite not landing a time slot for the Fox U.S. network.
Ilan Nacasch, chief marketing officer for SodaStream, told the Jerusalem Post that it was not disclosed to them why Fox rejected the ad. Nacasch said he could only assume it was due to pressure from other companies to ban the ad. The ad itself features Johansson at the end whispering, “Sorry Coke, and Pepsi” after she has already gone into detail emphasizing the benefits of SodaStream’s product over competitors. Coke and Pepsi have been major contributors to Super Bowl advertisements in prior years. This year Pepsi is sponsoring the half-time game, and Coke will be present with advertisements. Nacasch states that there is nothing in the ad that should require the company to cut out the ending statements.
The company scored when they were able to get Johansson to be their leading lady in promoting this eco-friendly no-can product. Johansson’s role in this ad goes beyond her pretty face, and she recently became the company’s global brand ambassador. As Johannson explains to New York Daily News press associates, for years she has been personally promoting SodaStream to friends and family, and she has given the product as a housewarming gift. Likewise, she reports using the product while on set and in her trailer.
Johansson’s Super Bowl ad has caused her to receive criticism for her involvement with the company and its newly disclosed ad. SodaStream International Ltd. is an Israeli company that is based out of Maale Adumim, a West Band settlement. Due to Israeli’s current occupation and according to LA Times illegal colonization of Palestinian land the actresses involvement with the company has caused Palestinian activists to speak out.
The LA Times also reported that Mustafa Barghouthi, who is the Palestinian National Initiative Party’s head, said that Johansson’s support for SodaStream gives her no excuse for participating in a violation of international law. Johanssen has served as an ambassador for the humanitarian group, Oxfam International, since 2007. Palestinian activists believe that her involvement with SodaStream, an Israeli company, will discredit Oxfam’s further progress in dealing with human rights issues around the world. Johansson responded to the criticism by stating that she stands behind SodaStream and that she is proud of the past eight years of work she has accomplished with Oxfam as their ambassador.Oxfam works to organize and encourage the power of people against poverty.
Other Palestinian activists have sanctioned her participation as Barghouthi does, and are urging Oxfam to disassociate from Johansson. Johansson also stated that she’d like to clear the air by telling the public that she did not intend to be a target of a social or political movement through her involvement with SodaStream. She made the statement in a press release that she will continue to be a supporter of social interaction and economic cooperation between Palestine and Israel, and as she has come to find out first hand, progress is made when a community efforts work together in their pursuits. Oxfam also released a response stating that they respect the independence of their ambassadors, but they oppose trade with Israeli settlements due to their denial of rights toward Palestinian communities.
Johansson’s super bowl ad for SodaStream is still scheduled to premiere on Feb. 2 during the Super Bowl. However, it is unclear at this time if it will feature the full uncensored version or if the ad will be shortened.
By Sarah Widger