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FOX Rejects Johansson SodaStream Super Bowl Commercial

· January 30, 2014

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A year after DisCo covered CBS dropping the ban hammer on an ad for homebrew carbonated beverage company SodaStream aimed at Sunday’s “Big Game,” FOX has repeated the performance, nixing an ad in which actress Scarlett Johansson touts SodaStream, concluding, “sorry, Coke and Pepsi”.  One of SodaStream’s prime selling points is that its mix-it-yourself approach to carbonated beverages produces fewer bottles, and is therefore more eco-friendly.

Johansson’s four-word swipe was the ostensible basis for rejecting the ad, even though, as Ad Age noted last year, “Pepsi has scored big points with viewers over the years by showing Super Bowl ads with Coke deliverymen abandoning their employer wholesale for a sip of a Pepsi drink.”  (This all occurs against the backdrop of the NFL’s notoriously aggressive policing of the trademark for the Game Which May Not Be Named — a subject that has been the subject of previous mockery.)

Today’s news reinforces the conclusion last year that sniping at one’s competitors over trivial product differences is fine, so long as your product doesn’t attack the business model of big incumbent advertisers.

Competition

Some, if not all of society’s most useful innovations are the byproduct of competition. In fact, although it may sound counterintuitive, innovation often flourishes when an incumbent is threatened by a new entrant because the threat of losing users to the competition drives product improvement. The Internet and the products and companies it has enabled are no exception; companies need to constantly stay on their toes, as the next startup is ready to knock them down with a better product.

Intellectual Property

The Internet enables the free exchange of ideas and content that, in turn, promote creativity, commerce, and innovation. However, a balanced approach to copyright, trademarks, and patents is critical to this creative and entrepreneurial spirit the Internet has fostered. Consequently, it is our belief that the intellectual property system should encourage innovation, while not impeding new business models and open-source developments.