HARD LINE ON SOFT DRINKS

Finweek English Edition - - ADVERTISING & MARKETING -

SO­DASTREAM’S global pro-en­vi­ron­ment cam­paign, “If you love the bub­bles, set them free”, is caus­ing a lot of ir­ri­ta­tion among the bot­tlers of fizzy soft drinks. In the UK, in­dus­try lead­ers have suc­cess­fully got a TV com­mer­cial banned from be­ing f lighted be­cause it al­legedly den­i­grated bot­tled soft drinks.

So­daStream is a prod­uct that car­bon­ates soft drinks as you use them, so it is not nec­es­sary to bot­tle them. The mes­sage of its global cam­paign is that plas­tic bot­tles con­trib­ute hugely to the con­sump­tion of re­sources and the de­struc­tion of the planet. “Help free the world from bot­tles,” is its plea.

It lost the case brought by Clearcast, an or­gan­i­sa­tion that pre-ap­proves TV ad­ver­tis­ing in the UK.

Ear­lier this year, So­daStream South Africa mounted an eco-ex­hibit at OR Tambo In­ter­na­tional Air­port. A huge metal cage was filled with 5 078 used plas­tic PET bot­tles, which is the av­er­age num­ber of bot­tles an av­er­age South African fam­ily con­sumes and dis­cards in three years. “With So­daStream you can save 2 000 bot­tles a year!” was the mes­sage on the cage.

A com­plaint was also lodged with the Ad­ver­tis­ing Stan­dards Author­ity claim­ing unau­tho­rised mis­use of Coca-Cola, Fanta and other soft drink brands, which were still iden­ti­fi­able on many of the bot­tles. Dis­par­age­ment of a com­peti­tor’s prod­uct is also an of­fence un­der the ASA code.

“The truth is that plas­tic bot­tles de­stroy our planet,” says Soda Stream’s South African MD, Fran­cois Dip­pe­naar. “Ev­ery year, 340bn bot­tles around the world end up in land­fills. Be­cause of this threat to the planet, we will con­tinue telling the story.

“The So­daStream sys­tem cre­ates a frac­tion of the car­bon foot­print of the tra­di­tional in­dus­try with its fac­to­ries, trucks and bot­tles. We will not com­pro­mise on our en­vi­ron­men­tal strat­egy, nei­ther will we be si­lenced or in­tim­i­dated by Coca-Cola. We will con­tinue telling the story that plas­tic is de­stroy­ing our planet.

“We have erected the cage at high-pro- file events and venues such as the Chicago In­ter­na­tional House­wares Show, Sel­f­ridges in the UK, and at air­ports in Canada, Bel­gium and New Zealand.”

So­daStream CEO Daniel Birn­baum asks: “Are we really be­ing cen­sored for help­ing to save the en­vi­ron­ment. This might be the first time an en­vi­ron­men­tal ap­proach has been shut down by the me­dia to pro­tect the tra­di­tional in­dus­try.”

Dip­pe­naar said So­daStream in­tends to lobby Government for a plas­tic bot­tle tax in SA to pro­tect the en­vi­ron­ment.

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