In one of my October posts I wrote about creative adman Alex Bogusky turning the iconic Coca-Cola Classic Polar Bears against the carbonated soft drink industry. In his 4 minute animated video, Papa Polar Bear gets a host of diseases linked to sugar consumption of soft drinks. In the end, the video encourages Polar Bears (people) to pour their drinks into the ocean.
You can imagine my surprise when I read in Advertising Age this morning that Alex Bogusky and his advertising agency, COMMON, are now teaming up with a soft drink competitor. However, this time they want you to drink the stuff….not pour it out.
SodaStream -Better choice or just another Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing?
According to Advertising Age, COMMON has just developed SodaStream’s first global campaign. As the company’s name implies, it sells a do-it-yourself home beverage carbonization system that turns tap water and syrup into carbonated sodas. In other words, it produces sweetened soft drinks just like Coke and Pepsi.
SodaStream claims its syrups have a third of the calories of traditional sodas and do not use high-fructose corn syrup or aspartame thereby promoting health and wellness. They also market themselves as being anti-wate and environmentally friendly because their re-usable containers eliminate the number of beverage cans and plastic bottles in landfills. The anti-waste angle I get. The health and wellness is a real stretch.
It seems to me there is a double standard and a loss of credibility by COMMON and SodaStream. In October your advertising agency takes a pretty strong stand against carbonated beverages and warns consumers the product is poisonous. And fast forward 1 brief month later, that same agency is set to launch an $18 million advertising campaign extolling the virtues of making your own carbonated beverages at home. Now, drinking those products are okay and are even considered good for you. This really validates that old adage about putting your money where your mouth is and does not reflect well on advertising practitioners. Apparently when you are not being paid by soft drink companies you have ethics and can be a social activist. When you have a paying client who plays in the same sandbox you are now somehow able to justify and promote the product category. It sounds pretty hypocritical to me.