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SodaStream: British Ad Ban Not Linked to Boycott

UK bans Israel's SodaStream pro-environment ad. "It disparages other firms." SodaStream: Ban not linked to boycott.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 11/28/2012, 1:59 PM

Soft drink bottles fizz out in comercial
Soft drink bottles fizz out in comercial
SodaStream commercial screenshot

SodaStream Israel, a favorite target of the BDS Israel boycott movement, must remove a video commercial in Britain because it allegedly disparages other soda manufacturers.

SodaStream manufactures and distributes machines for home use to make carbonated drinks, eliminating the need to buy environmentally unfriendly plastic bottles.

It also operates a plant in Mishor Adumim, located between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea, an area claimed by the Palestinian Authority.

The factory is considered a political and moral sin by the BDS movement, which also promotes the boycott of Motorola, Naot footwear and Ahava products -- all because their plants, which employ Arabs, are located beyond the 1949 Temporary Armistice Lines drawn by the United Nations after the Arab world failed to annihilate the fledgling Jewish State.

However, SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum told Arutz Sheva he is "certain" there is no connection between the boycott movement and the British ban. "They probably don't even know that SodaStream is an Israeli company, Birnbaum said, adding that if he thought that the decision was based on anti-Zionism, he would be the first to protest.

SodaStream will appeal the decision next week.

Britain, which formerly has banned Ministry of Tourism ads for daring to show that Jerusalem is part of Israel, now has pulled the video commercial off the air, allegedly because it ridicules companies such as Coca-Cola and Pepsi.

The 30-second commercial shows soft drink bottles disappearing while people at home use their SodaStream machines.

“With SodaStream you can save 1,000 bottles per year,” says the commercial.

British authorities do not buy it. Despite the pro-environment message, they argue that unfairly disparages bottled drink manufacturers, although the United States, Australia and even boycott-strong Sweden have allowed the ad to go on the air.

Britain’s Clearcast authority stated, “The majority decided that the ad could be seen to tell people not to go to supermarkets and buy soft drinks, [and] instead help to save the environment by buying a SodaStream.” It was also told that the pitch constituted “denigration of the bottled-drinks market.

"This decision is absurd, and the explanation given is totally unreasonable," said Birnbaum.

"Are we really being censored for helping to save the environment? This might be the first time in the world when an environmental approach has been shut down by the media to protect a traditional industry. Of course we're competing with bottled beverages, but why is offering a game-changing approach denigrating? It is like saying that iPod ads denigrate the Walkman or that car ads denigrated the horse and buggy. Clearcast's decision is disappointing and disturbing for any democratic society."

"With global recycling rates estimated to be less than 30%, more than 1 billion of those bottles and cans are dumped as waste across parks, oceans and landfills every single day," concluded Birnbaum.

"Our ad confronts the beverage industry and its arguably outdated business model by showing people that there exists a smarter way to enjoy soft drinks, empowering them to get the bubbles without the bottles."